Title: Fire from the Sky: A Diary Over Japan
Author: Ron Greer, Mike Wicks
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald
ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0976871203
"May 26, 1945 target Tokyo; the target was the eastern part of the industrial section of Tokyo. It was hot as hell too, because the Japanese were waiting for us. We went into the target individually and as we made our sweep, one Jap twin-engine fighter was waiting about 20 miles off the coast and followed us over the target. Flak was very heavy and searchlights were estimated at about 400 in number in the Tokyo area. We were in the searchlights all the way through the target. Losses were estimated to be about 18 B-29's. One crew came back with the tail almost shot off and the tail gunner had been killed instantly. On both raids the industrial centers we hit had an estimated civilian population of 50,000 to 75,000 people per square mile area. Fires started by the incendiary bombs covered 10 square miles and could be seen 200 miles out to sea."
If this dialog sounds like a plot from a war movie it well could be, however the account consists of the bombing mission quotes taken directly from the diary of S/Sgt Herb Greer, Radio operator on a B-29 Superfortress named the "City of Monroe" during the war with Japan. The diary takes each of the 28 missions flown by the B-29 "City of Monroe" one by one and details those events as they happened over Japan. The accounts are filled with such phrases as "Great Fires, clouds of thick black smoke, horrific smells meaning flesh burning, which permeated the aircraft over the target area and lingered until they landed some 8 to 10 hours later on Guam. Bombing missions were repeated until most of the industrial areas of Japans major cities were nothing but ashes. The final days were approaching when Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be devastated with the two atomic bombs. The gentleman that I speak of is my father, Herbert L. Greer and this is a book of his diary, supplemental comments and pictures that reflect on a period of time that the United States freedom and liberty were highly at risk.