|About the Book|
Here is an intimate story, almost a log, that finds one young college student, Jim, determined to do his part after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Jim has two very strong interests, aviation and his favorite movie actress, Charlene Clairemont,MoreHere is an intimate story, almost a log, that finds one young college student, Jim, determined to do his part after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Jim has two very strong interests, aviation and his favorite movie actress, Charlene Clairemont, whose color picture hangs above his desk. He completes the university sponsored CPT flying course and qualifies as a Naval Aviation Cadet.. He gets his wings as a torpedo pilot, and ends up in a fleet squadron assigned to a baby flat top, a CVE. His group are to provide close support for the ground troops landing on a number of enemy held Pacific Islands.Like most Naval Aviators he dates a few good looking ladies during the groups stateside training period. In the Northwest one of these is Norene, and when they move to Saltvillein the Calipatriadesert, he dates an ingenue actress, Berta, who has appeared in some of his favorite stars pictures. Next the squadron moves to a base, Los Altos, fairly close to the movie capital, Shadow City. The squadron skipper asks Jim and another group member to attend a civilian family get-together in response to their invitation through base personnel. They do and Jim meets a an attractive brunette who caims to be writing a play. He finds her quite attractive, but does not ask to follow up on this meeting. Later, the two ensigns Jim and Rod, decide to check out the roller coaster at the amusement area of neighboring Paradise Beachbeach. They find two girls also riding and climb into the next car, but Jim thinks one girl is somehow familiar. Later, she rides alone and Jim follows in the same car. After each have a shouting conversation above ground, they land and Jim presses her for a name.She will be known as Brandi.As the group continues their flying at Los Altos, Jim and Brandi become closer, and when the couple visit the Sky Room observation deck of the boardwalk hotel, Jim learns why Brandi has seemed so familiar to him. She is actually his all time favorite, Charlene. Their romance blossoms and finally they are married, but away from his shipmates and unknown to her studio and the public. He introduces her, incognito, as a bit player, to his squadron mates, and they find a cottage to rent. It is afterward the couples lives are changed for good. When practicing firing his wing guns at the tow sleeve, Jim, in a dive, catches the tow cable with his wing. He is forced to bail out, but his chute fails to open properly, and he drops at a good speed some twenty-five hundred feet to the water. He suffers a concussion, which causes a partial but solid amnesia for the two or so previous months. He thinks Brandi is one of his nurses. A few days later, he is returned to duty with no obvious injury except the memory loss which doesnt affect his flying. He has no recollection of the accident. Jim next meets Brandi, believing she is a girl he has only just met and he falls in love with her again. Brandi makes the best of the resulting mess, by trying to repeat every date the couple had before the accident, hoping the locations and surroundings might jog his memory, but in the end his complete disbelief of their previous association causes her much distress, especially since she has a part in a picture and must go on location abroad. It turns out that the squadron is to complete training further north at Alomar, and Brandi suggests they should not keep on seeing each other at least for some time.At Alomar, Jim, believing Brandi is through with him, looks up the little red head, Norene, he dated at Northwest Cedar Base and who now works at NAS Alomar. As the group finishes training romance blossoms for Jim and Norene, and when Jim is ready to go overseas Norene is there at San Leandro to say good bye. Now the ship carries the group to Pearl Harbor and to a base in the Marshalls and then to their first combat assignment, the landing on Saipan. During this Jim is shot down and captured, but his declared execution backfires and he subjugates three of his captors. After the island is secured the group rearms and refuels on Tipitiki where Jim is very surprised to meet Brandi, now a Red Cross Nurse Aide at the hospital there. They discuss old times and when the ship leaves Brandi is allowed to come on board to say good bye to Jim. The group continues to support the landings on Guam and the Palaus, and finally they assist McArthur s landing on Leyte in the Phillipines, They run into a large portion of the enemy fleet and loose several of their carriers and destroyers. During the course of the Battle for Leyte Gulf Jim makes several torpedo and bombing runs, being hit personally by a kamikaze, but being able to continue until shot down into the water. A day later he is picked up by a sub, and ultimately returns to San Leandro finding the members of his squadron who have similar battle experiences. Upon receipt of orders back to the Northwest to rejoin a new version of the squadron, Jim picks up Norene and they journey To his parents home, east coast, to marry at the Naval Air Staion on Great Island.In a brief Epilog, after the war, we find Jim regaining his memory bit by bit, and recalling first the accident, and then the startling fact that he and Brandi were actually married for about two weeks. He realizes that MacKenzie,. Their ACI Officer, had helped Brandi obtain an anullment, (he was best man when he married Norene). By now Jim is a senior engineer at a defense plant, and he and Norene have three children. The story ends when Jim having followed many performances of Beverlee Beauchamp, an actress who somehow reminds him of Brandi, attends one of her plays. He thinks enough of her work to take a dozen roses to her dressing room. When she greets him , he finds she is actually Brandi, using a different name.About the AuthorJack Johnson was a Naval Aviator in WWII and Queen High is basically a log based on our experiences during our campaign in the Pacific and our training experiences.