From POW to Blue Angel: The Story of Commander Dusty Rhodes

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University of Oklahoma Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 297 pages
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As only the third fighter pilot to become leader of the Blue Angels, Raleigh E. “Dusty” Rhodes helped develop the most famous aerobatics team ever formed. From POW to Blue Angel tells his story—a fast-paced drama teeming with action and human interest and capturing the initiative and tenacity of a true American hero.

Jim Armstrong has drawn on extensive interviews and Dusty’s scrapbooks and flight logs to produce a rare account of the Blue Angels in the late 1940s. Readers will experience the stress of practice and the exhilaration of air shows as Armstrong takes them inside Dusty’s cockpit during the era when the Blues first found fame, perfecting their trademark formations and maneuvers.

This book is also a moving account of the degradation that Rhodes suffered for three years as a prisoner of war, and includes his rare, ground observer’s view of the firebombings of Tokyo and Yokohama. Armstrong poignantly captures Dusty’s return to a changed postwar America, and also recounts his tour as a fighter pilot in Korea.

From POW to Blue Angel is an intimate story of service and survival that will carve a place in naval aviation history—and inspire all who keep their eyes skyward.

 

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Contents

Task Force 61
5
First Blood
6
Predicament
16
Rescue
26
Truk Stop
36
The Quiz Kids
53
Ofuna Blues
71
The Stadium
92
Wars End
144
Homeward Bound
157
Homecoming
169
Refresher
195
Angels and Bearcats
209
Top Cat
223
Joining the Jet Set
242
Panthers over Korea
262

Yokohama Christmas
109
The Brickyard
119
Postscript
286
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About the author (2006)

Jim Armstrong is Professor Emeritus of English at Fullerton College, Fullerton, California.

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