SIGNED BY 13 PILOTS OF THE 23RD FIGHTER GROUP, FOUR OF THEM ACES
MOLESWORTH, Carl. Sharks over China. The 23rd Fighter Group in World War II. (Edison, New Jersey): Castle Books, (2001). Octavo, original boards, original dust jacket. $600.
Second edition of this history of the 23rd Fighter Group—successor to the Flying Tigers in China—signed on a specially designed bookplate by 13 pilots of the group’s renowned 76th Squadron, four of them aces.
By the time the 23d Fighter Group returned to the United States in December 1945, it had accounted for the destruction of 621 enemy planes in air combat, plus 320 more on the ground. It sank more than 131,000 tons of enemy shipping and damaged another 250,000 tons. It caused an estimated enemy troop loss of more than 20,000. These statistics were compiled through a total of more than 24,000 combat sorties, requiring more than 53,000 flying hours, and at a cost of 110 aircraft lost in aerial combat, 90 shot down by surface defenses and 28 bombed while on the ground. This copy signed on a specially designed "Sharks over China—Pilots of the 76th Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group" bookplate by the following: Steve Bonner (ace with 5 victories), Richard "Buck" Templeton, John "Stew" Stewart (ace with 9 victories; Squadron Commander), Glen Beneda, Gordon "Kitz" Kitzman, Al Baker, James "Willie" Williams (ace with 6 victories, Squadron Commander), Max Nofstager, Judson "Jud" Bullard, Chuck H. Dubois (ace with 6 victories), Irv Saunders, R.M. "Perky" Perkins, and Leonard J. O'Dell. Many are profiled and their exploits chronicled in Molesworth's book. The 76th Squadron was one of three assigned to the 23rd (74th, 75th, 76th). Originally published in 1994.