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 squadron's designation in the movie was VMF-247 "Wildcats" but in the movie was based on VMF-223 "The Bulldogs". VMF-223 was a Marine fighter squadron that flew Grumman F4F Wildcats. They were also formed at MCAS Ewa on Oahu and was the first fighter squadron at the Battle of Guadalcanal. The unit still exists to this day as VMA-223, or Marine Attack Squadron 223. Based at Cherry Point, NC, it is comprised of AV-8B Harrier (V/STOL) jets and is under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 14. The unit has flown in every major conflict from WWII to Iraq and Afghanistan. See more
Early in the movie, it states the date was summer 1942. This would make the planes and insignia incorrect. After Pearl Harbor, the insignia removed the red circle inside the white star, but didn't have the white sidebars. Further, the planes shown are Grumman F6F Hellcats. In 1942 the Navy/Marines used the Grumman F4F Wildcat. The Hellcat didn't tangle with Japanese planes until the later half of 1943. See more
Referenced in Stalag 17