More than 16 million Americans served in the military during World War II - and nearly 3 million of them spent time in the Pacific theater. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States looked to graduates of the naval academy to fill its need for qualified officers. To supplement the number of academy graduates, new programs were created, including the Naval Reserve Officer Training Program, the Civilian Pilot Training Program, the Naval Aviation Cadet Program and what were later called ""V"" programs. Despite these efforts, the military buildup was slow. After Pearl Harbor, all branches of the military became dependent upon officers rushed through training programs, some of which hardly lasted longer than the enlisted men's boot camp - the so-called ""ninety day wonders"" are just such an example. Recruited and trained in a variety of ways, the officers came from varied backgrounds. From a Japanese language officer and a Marine Corps fighter pilot, to a master rigger and a navy weatherman, the author presents the tales of more than 20 navy and marine officers, offering the story of the war through their personal experiences.
Bruce M. Petty served for two years on the U.S.S. Yorktown during the Vietnam War. A California native, he has lived in Saipan. His writings have been published in The Pacific Daily News, The Marianas Variety, Umanidat: A Journal of the Humanities and Journal of the Pacific Society. Formerly a nuclear medicine technologist, he currently writes in New Plymouth, New Zealand.