This 1944 WWII U.S. Navy propaganda film features a wide range of US Navy carrier operations (involving Hellcats, Helldivers and Avengers), with hair-raising carrier landings and accidents. The film begins with carrier take-offs from ships based near the Philippines including USS Enterprise CV-6, with aircraft looking for Japanese at sea and on land the mission is the same -- "find the Japs". Beginning about the 4:30 mark as aircraft return to their ships, you'll see an incredible assortment of tough landings with shot up aircraft, aircraft with stuck landing gear, and aircraft with wounded pilots. At 5:23 an aircraft hits the deck, giving the pilot a concussion. At 5:30 a plane with one wheel stuck makes a pass and then returns to make a very tough landing. At 6:35, an aircraft on fire makes a solid landing on the deck. Commander David McCampbell, the highest Navy ace of the Pacific war, is seen. He shot down 34 Japanese aircraft. The film ends with a burial at sea of a deceased gunner, on board the aircraft where he breathed his final breaths.
Captain David McCampbell (January 16, 1910 – June 30, 1996) was an American naval aviator, Medal of Honor recipient, and the US Navy’s all-time leading ace with 34 aerial victories during World War II. The third-highest scoring US flying ace of World War II, he was the highest-scoring ace to survive the war.
McCampbell was born in Bessemer, Alabama, and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. He attended the Staunton Military Academy and one year at the Georgia School of Technology before his appointment to the United States Naval Academy, where he graduated with the class of 1933.