Operation Plum: The Ill-Fated 27th Bombardment Group and the Fight for the Western Pacific
Adrian R. Martin and Larry W. Stephenson. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2008. 364 pp. Illus. Append. Notes. Bib. Index. $29.95.
The Army Air Corps' 27th bombardment group landed in the Philippines during November 1941 as part of Operation Plum, the code name for the resupply effort of U.S. forces in the Philippines. The group arrived with 1,209 confident young airmen who later emerged from their ordeal as battle-scarred veterans or POW camp survivors. One year later, only 20 pilots returned to the United States.
The 27th was formed in 1940 at Barksdale field near Shreveport, Louisiana. Its aircrews were trained to a high state of combat readiness in twin-engine A-20 attack bombers and single-engine A-24 dive bombers. But logistical snafus during deployment to the Pacific separated personnel from aircraft and equipment, so about half the 27th's pilots were sent to retrieve aircraft that had been diverted to Australia.