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A Sailor's Life in World War II

The story of a twenty-year-old enlisted in the US Navy before Pearl Harbor; his flights as turret gunner in torpedo bombers, perilous flying from aircraft carriers, bombing flights from Guadalcanal, attacking and sinking of a Japanese aircraft carrier, and the burial at sea of a German submarine captain in the North Atlantic.

"This is the story of a true American hero, one of a small group of Americans from every part of the country who joined Torpedo Squadron Eight in the early days of the Second World War. Through a combination of courage, sacrifice, and fate, these men helped to change the course of history at the momentous battles of Midway and Guadalcanal. Their story is truly one for the ages." From the foreword by Robert Mrazek, author of A Dawn Like Thunder: The True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight.

Ski Kowaleski's account of Navy life provides a unique view of what it was like to be a pilot during and after World War II. The book profits are donated to the Good Sam Fund of the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center.

about the author

Ski Kowalewski is a World War II veteran who enlisted in the United States Navy prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ski was a member of the famous Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) devastated at the Battle of Midway. He flew from four aircraft carriers as an aerial turret gunner in TBF-1 torpedo bombers. He survived a torpedo bomber crash and many torpedo bomber attacks on Japanese surface ships including an aircraft carrier. He was also recruited to support the Marines fighting the Japanese on Guadalcanal at Bloody Ridge. He participated in the burial ceremony at sea of a German submarine captain who had been captured by US Naval forces in the North Atlantic. He is an FAA-rated Airline Transport Pilot, multi-engine land and sea rated. He has flown 25 different aircraft, a jet and ultralights with 14,000 logged fight hours. Ski graduated from Navy flight training and was rated as a Navy pilot. He served one half of his 20-year Navy career as a pilot. After retiring from the Navy, he had a successful career with the Federal Aviation Administration as an Airways Systems Inspection Pilot.

fascinating to read

I enjoyed this book immensely. As a fan of history, it was fascinating to read a first-hand account of Torpedo Squadron Eight in World War II. Ski’s rendition of a sober time in our history, peppered with humor and introspection made his story so engaging. It felt like hearing an old friend relating his experiences over a beer and peppermint schnapps. I loved the tangential accounts of Ski’s Polish mom, and his brush with celebrities like Hopalong Cassidy, Edward G. Robinson, and Glenn Miller. It made history come to life for me! Despite a subtle levity to his historical account, Ski’s bravery, courage, and heroism are all too real. His was truly the Greatest Generation, and we owe them our sincerest gratitude and admiration.
—Chris P, Amazon reader

vivid, detailed account

Amazing true story of a young man who put his life on the line to challenge Japanese aggression in the Pacific Theater of World War II. "Ski" Kowalewski was part of Torpedo Squadron 8, joining up after many of the original aviators were wiped out in the Battle of Midway in 1942. Narrowly avoiding death in a series of incidents through a combination of luck and verve, he made it out and now tells today's generation about the sacrifices they made. A vivid, detailed account of an extraordinary life.
—Jeffrey Allen, Amazon reader

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