Major Daniel Kirby takes command of a squadron of Marine fliers just before they are about to go into combat. While the men are well meaning, he finds them undisciplined and prone to always finding excuses to do what is easy rather than what is necessary. The root of the problem is the second in command, Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin. Griff is the best flier in the group but Kirby finds him a poor commander who is not prepared to the difficult decision that all commanders have to make - to put men in harm's way knowing that they may be killed. Written by
From Guadalcanal to Okinawa...the Marine air-devils blazed a trail of glory...while the women they left behind fought battles of their own! (1956 reissue poster)
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Did You Know?
There was some controversy over the casting, since both John Wayne
and Robert Ryan
were clearly much older than real pilots during World War II. See more
At about the 56 minute mark, the Navajo Indian pilot is shot in a dogfight. In the initial scene he is wounded in the right leg; in subsequent scenes, the wound is in the left leg. See more
Maj. Daniel Xavier Kirby
When the command meets a commander for the first time, it's like a wedding. Nobody knows how it's going to turn out. Whether it'll be a happy golden anniversary or a divorce. We'll see.