Wake Island Pilot: A World War II Memoir

Overview

Wake Island Pilot is the story of John F. Kinney - hero, POW escapee, and aviation pioneer. It contains the first full-length account of a successful escape by a Marine captured in one of the great battles of World War II. Within hours of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese struck the small U.S. garrison on Wake Island. As his squadron's engineering officer, young pilot John F. Kinney used all his considerable ingenuity to oversee the cannibalization of crippled planes for spare parts when he himself was not in...
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Overview

Wake Island Pilot is the story of John F. Kinney - hero, POW escapee, and aviation pioneer. It contains the first full-length account of a successful escape by a Marine captured in one of the great battles of World War II. Within hours of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese struck the small U.S. garrison on Wake Island. As his squadron's engineering officer, young pilot John F. Kinney used all his considerable ingenuity to oversee the cannibalization of crippled planes for spare parts when he himself was not in the air fighting off the Japanese assault. His gallant efforts helped enable the desperate Marine and Navy defenders to hold out for an incredible two weeks, a truly epic struggle. After the island's inevitable surrender, Kinney was a Japanese prisoner in China for the next three and a half years. During this time, he put his amazingly inventive mechanical skills to work, creating from scratch numerous items, including a radio, to improve his fellow POWs' situation. Toward the end of the war, Kinney escaped from a prison train and, with the assistance of both Nationalist and Communist Chinese troops, made his way to an American airfield. He was thus one of the few Americans to escape from Japanese captivity outside the Philippines. General Kinney's subsequent Marine Corps career was equally distinguished: He flew fighters in the Korean War and helped develop the classic A4-D Skyhawk.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"General Kinney’s firsthand account of his unique experiences in World War II is guaranteed to keep the reader on the edge of the chair. From the heroic defense of Wake Island to the horrible years as a prisoner of the Japanese and the spine-tingling account of his escape that was three years in the making, Kinney provides new insights and perspectives into the war in the Pacific."

"Throughout his well-told story, Kinney describes the traits that make a leader, a pilot, and an engineer. His autobiography is one of drive, determination, intestinal fortitude, and will. World War II was won by heroes like John Kinney."

"John Kinney’s actions at Wake Island epitomized the American flair for improvisation that was such a notable contribution in the early days of World War II. His exciting story is well worth reading."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574887365
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/30/2005
  • Series: Memories of War
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

James M. McCaffrey is a resident of Houston. His previous books include This Band of Heroes: Granbury's Texas Brigade, C.S.A.

John F. Kinney retired in 1959 after twenty years of service in the Marine Corps. He lives in Portola Valley, California.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2007

    A true aviation heroe's story, excellent!

    John Kinney¿s ¿Wake Island Pilot¿ represents one of many excellent accounts by the actual men who served at Wake in those harrowing first days of WWII. In any story one reads about Wake Island, Lt. Kinney is always mentioned as a key player. It is interesting to piece the Wake saga together with the individual stories and anecdotes of the men like Kinney who were there. The story Kinney tells is a humble one, considering the events he has seen and endured. He is the original 'MacGuyver,' fixing equipment not only at Wake, but also throughout his long and amazing career. Kinney's story is like walking through nearly every chapter of American military aviation history. Few can ever say they flew in everything from Curtiss Jennys to early Vietnam era jets. A great read for Wake Island, WWII, aviation and Korean War enthusiasts alike. REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ, AUTHORS DESERVE YOUR OPINIONS!

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