In the first two chapters, Stern briefly examines the nature of suicidal attacks in warfare and why Japanese leaders--increasingly desperate after the decimation of their naval aviators in the June 1944 Battle of the Philippine Sea
(also known as the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot)--regarded organized suicide attacks as their best strategic option to avoid the shame of unconditional surrender expected to be imposed by the victorious Allies.
Each operation had its own characteristics: the first significant Marine assault, at Tarawa in the Gilberts in November 1943; the rapid seizure of the Marshalls in an efficiently run cakewalk; the neutralization with carrier air strikes and bypassing of the great Japanese bastion at Truk; and in June 1944 the difficult invasion of the well defended Marianas, along with the naval battle of the Philippine Sea.
In response to those who said Spruance might have done better at Midway, at Tarawa, or in the battle of the Philippine Sea, Lundstrom says: "The constant was that every time Admiral Raymond A.
Yet Spruance--victorious air leader of the Battle of Midway--comes in for criticism with regard to the Battle of the Philippine Sea
because all of the Japanese carriers were not sunk, though by far the greater part of their airplanes went down, and three of the flattops followed them to the depths of the ocean.
Commander Cook Cleland, skipper of VF-653 based at NAS Akron, Ohio, had flown an SBD Dauntless in the famed return-after-dark mission during the Battle of the Philippine Sea
in June 1944.
At the 1944 Battle of the Philippine Sea
, Spruance again was criticized for failing to destroy all the IJN carriers.
It ends with the battle of the Philippine Sea
in June 1944, after which "the Japanese Navy never again launched a significant effort to contest the hegemony of the skies over the Pacific.
He changed his warfare specialty from surface-based to aviation-based on an advisory letter from his father, then a captain commanding an Iowa-class battleship during the Battle of the Philippine Sea
Y'Blood wrote eight books, beginning with Red Sun Setting: The Battle of the Philippine Sea
, published in 1981, which won national acclaim.