Nearly every World War II fighter squadron that flew in Europe has had its history chronicled. Other than "Pappy" Boyington's famous VMF-214 "Black Sheep", little has been written about Marine Corps squadrons in World War II. The contribution of VMF-223, the "Death Rattlers", over Okinawa in the Spring of 1945 is virtually unknown. In two months there, the squadron became the top-scoring unit of any service with 124 1/2 victories and produced 12 aces, the most for one tour of any Marine squadron. The squadron downed 24 3/4 Japanese aircraft twice in its tour, the most for a single Marine squadron in any single action. The squadron's story is not only one of its pilots, combat, and valor, but also of the enlisted men, "the ground-crunchers," who made it function against the Japanese kamikaze menace. Along with the traditional historical perspective, it is an inside look at the personal side of training and war. It is the story of a group of untried young men who trained long and hard and became "family."
Dr. William Wolf has written fourteen books and numerous articles on World War II aviation combat and is an avid collector and historian, having over 22,000 World War II books and magazines, three miles of microfilm, and thousands of photos in his library, along with numerous pieces of World War II aviation memorabilia and aces' autographs.