"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
Ham Sandwich a book review by "Goz"
For all of us U.S. Naval Aviation enthusiasts on this site, increasing our knowledge by reading the history behind these items we collect can be equally important and exciting as these items themselves. I recommend "Fateful Rendezvous", by Steve Ewing and John B. Lundstrom, the biography of Butch O'Hare.

Most Americans have some awareness of Al Capone, the modern Navy's "Top Gun" fighter training program and, if air travelers, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.  All the aforementioned have something unique in common:  Edward "Butch" O'Hare. Edward "EJ" O'Hare, Butch's dad, aided the US government in bringing about the downfall of Al Capone and his crime syndicate as an informant. Under the tutelage of his VF-3 C.O., Jimmy Thach, Butch helped pioneer and formalize tactics and techniques for intensive fighter pilot training.

The narrative covers his exploits not only as a top-notch fighter pilot, but also as a Medal of Honor recipient, fighter squadron and Air Group commander and Navy night-fighter pioneer. Butch was regarded as a man of character whom everyone admired, which is something all good leaders possess. It was said if Butch held you in high regard, he would help himself to a ham sandwich from your ice box!

Butch's biography merits a "must read" and "must have" publication on any collector's book shelf. So, if you're looking for a great read on naval aviation history, this is an exceptional tale of an ordinary man who did some extraordinary things. Unfortunately, as a result, he paid the ultimate price. Once you start reading, I guarantee you won't want to put it down.   

Above: Butch at a luau with squadron mates during the training period of VF-6 in Hawaii. Although always respected as the skipper, he could still be just one of the guys.

Below: Another of many promotional photos taken between the MOH presentation and the forming of VF-6.

Bottom: The tribute display at O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL.
      Fallen Heroes
Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We gave Our Today"