The Eight Ballers: Eyes of the Fifth Air Force, by John Stanaway and Bob Rocker, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pa., 1999, $39.95.
Updating and correcting squadron diaries is somewhat easier than working from scratch, but regardless of how one does it, a good unit history is always a welcome addition to the aviation reference library. By enhancing the wartime log of the 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron and illustrating it with some 500 photographs, John Stanaway and Bob Rocker have produced The Eight Ballers: Eyes of the Fifth Air Force.
Beginning operations in New Guinea in April 1942, the pilots of the 8th Squadron mainly flew Lockheed F-4s and F-5s–photo reconnaissance versions of the P-38–to provide pictorial intelligence for the Fifth Air Force throughout the Pacific War. Flying lone missions deep into enemy territory, in the face of often horrendous weather conditions as well as Japanese fighters, the 8thdeserves its place alongside the fighter groups, and The Eight Ballers pays them their due in worthy fashion.