From Yeomanettes to Fighter Jets; Skies of Thunder

Being there . . . for the current exceptional coverage of two early summertime reads dealing
with war matters until this time unknown, ignored, or beyond the usual military sphere. In both
books there are no finer definitions of courage and bravery, while, simply put, reading
relishable narratives. If the focus on the following two subject matters is to be broadened, as
certainly hoped for by this reviewer, war writers today and tomorrow will have to demonstrate
higher degrees of sheer resoluteness, bibliographic skill, and emotional cleverness in tapping
additional primary source information and last survivor interviews. Predicatively, completing
each read overnight, as you are customarily wont to do, with riveting writing on hitherto
neglected subjects, you, too, will appeal for greater widening of range and depth since intuition
tells you much greater knowledge remains to be gathered, organized, and narrated. Such a
thrusting proves that you are a military buff of the highest standard and rank, echoing
Montaigne’s assertion that, “Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.”
TWO FIRST-CLASS, FLESH-AND-BLOOD READING PRESENTATIONS, COMBINING 780 PAGES, OF
WAR STORIES, ONE OF AMERICAN WOMEN IN AERIAL COMBAT ROLES SO SPELLBINDING THE
READER WILL CONSUME BOTH OVERNIGHT BEFORE BREAKFAST. CAN THERE BE HIGHER
PRAISE? THANK THE AL-MIGHTY FOR THESE TWO ADDITIONAL SPLENDID, OMNIPOTENT
FEMALE AUTHOR-HISTORIANS!
Reviewed and highly, highly recommended by Don DeNevi
“FROM YEOMANETTES TO FIGHTER JETS – – A Century of Women in the U.S. Navy”, by Randy
Carol Goguen. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD: 2024, 300 pages, 6 ¼” x 9 ½”, Women,
History, Military, $34.95; USNI members, a 40% discount for $20.97; and at Amazon, currently
$32.15.
“SKIES OF THUNDER – – The Deadly World War II Mission Over the Roof of the World”, by
Caroline Alexander. Viking, Penguin Random House: May 14, 2024, 480 pages, hardcover, 6 ¼” x
9 ¼”, $32. Visit, https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com.
From her painstakingly constructed easy-to-read chapters, Randy Carol Goguen, a retired
Navy Reserve Officer, introduces the significant progress women made integrating into the
operational force, which at long last opened doors to other opportunities. The Navy finally
welcomed women to almost all ship types, including, surprisingly, aircraft carriers, cruisers,
destroyers, frigates, amphibious warships, and mine countermeasure command boats. The
women who persevered through decades of cultural and institutional discrimination and
obstruction were finally earning salaries to lead and fully contribute to the Navy’s mission, “at
the pointy end of the spear,”
Today, as Randy Carol continues, integrating women into our Navy has been a long and often
contentious process, as women strove to overcome resistance imposed by prevailing cultural
and institution norms and patriarchal prejudices. This fine exemplar writes, “We have proven
ourselves essential to the mission success of the service. We are forward deployed around the
world, sharing the same risks as our male counterparts. Some have commanded logistics and

combatant ships including aircraft carriers. They fly and maintain combat and patrol aircraft
and serve as crewmembers on battleships and submarines. Some hold major commands ashore
and have risen to the highest echelons of Navy leadership.”
Meanwhile, from New York Times bestselling author, Caroline Alexander, comes an unusual,
admirably handled thriller of aerial combat, survival, and bravery in the Burmese skies as war
raged throughout the Pacific in 1942 – – and, on the battlegrounds of jungles, hills, and
mountains, with the Japanese Army, a massive, inexorable force advancing irresistibly, crushing
mostly whatever was in its path, cutting and capturing the only ground route between India
and China. By July of that year, all munitions and supplies to these critical areas would have to
be flown in daily across “the Hump”, a formidable Himalaya high mountain barrier into
southern China. Tackling rarely researched and written about historic battles and incidents,
Caroline Alexander unequivocally proves her capacity to research for and captivate her readers.
Once begun, try putting down “The Endurance” and “The Bounty”. Here, she brings her gifts to
the making of a pulsating throbber dealing with American airmen stationed not far from the
advancing, remorseless Japanese. By May 1942, they had to stop the relentless Japanese
juggernaut within striking distance of India.
Over the past 80+ years, Caroline Alexander is one of the very, very few writers to peruse
and draw upon the somber, hitherto unpublished, source, and eyewitness accounts of this
“minor” Hump aspect of the Pacific War. Who, in the American public, wanted to read about
the depressing news from Burma, i.e., 600+ Allied cargo-carrying planes buried in the Myanmar

  • – the era name for “Burma”; the 1,000-mile British retreat, the longest in the history of
    Britain’s army, through Burma to the border of India; the relieving of command of several
    nearsighted British commanders; continuous fierce fighting retreats. Yet, the Pacific Tide was
    bound to subside. Spectacular American naval victories, Midway and Japan’s first island defeat
    at Guadalcanal meant the United States was bouncing back. The days of flying fickle, untested
    outdated aircraft through monsoons and enemy fire, while trying to read torn, outdated,
    coffee-stained maps, while relying on cheap WWI means of navigation were over.
    Both informationally historic, “From Yeomanettes to Fighter Jets”, by Randy Carol Goguen,
    and Caroline Alexander’s “Skies of Thunder” demand prominent places on every serious
    military buff’s personal library shelf.

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