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.
AIR-DEVILS OF THE SKY!
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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
When the squadron is arriving at Guadalcanal, Major Kirby keeps 3 planes with him to give close air support. After they do the strafing, the 4 airplanes are returning to the base. One pilot (Simmons) pulls out of formation and goes off on his own. Kirby determines the rest are low on fuel and must "pancake". When they arrive at the field, four (4) airplanes pull up to land. There should only have been 3, since Simmons had left the formation. See more
Maj. Daniel Xavier Kirby
Are we all buttoned up?
Cat's out... doors locked. All secure sir.