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?
The fighter planes seen in the early part of the film are not the actual Grumman F4F Wildcat planes which were part of the Guadalcanal air campaign but Grumman F6F Hellcat planes. Hellcats were more readily available at the time the movie was made in 1951 as not many Wildcats had actually survived World War II. Moreover, Hellcats painted white and red also doubled as enemy Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJNAS). See more
Near the end of the movie, just prior to Kirby (John Wayne) boarding the plane to leave, we see a wounded soldier being loaded onto a 2 engine C-47. In the next scene as Kirby is boarding the plane and is saying farewell to Griff (Robert Ryan), at the ladder, the plane is a 4 engine C-54. See more
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