Submitted by Evil Ed
During the battle for Guadalcanal, Jorgensen’s (Steve Flagg) plane is shot up after he breaks formation to pursue a Japanese Zero. He bails out, but his parachute gets hung up in a tree, and he is shot and killed by a Japanese patrol.
Both Malotke (Adam Williams) and Billy Castle (Lynn Stalmaster) are also killed in close-air support runs at Guadalcanal, while Charlie’s (Keith Larsen) plane is hit, and his leg is shot up. Charlie manages to crash land his plane back at the base, but his leg has to be amputated.
Kelvin (Ralph Cook) and Simmons (Adam York) are shot down as well before the Battle of Guadalcanal is over. The success of the Wildcats’ close-air support at Guadalcanal gets Major Kirby (John Wayne) promoted to Lt. Colonel and sent back to California to train a new squadron, while Captain “Griff” Griffin (Robert Ryan) is still not promoted to command the Wildcats.
For the battle of Okinawa, the newly-reinforced squadron of Wildcats with Lt. Col Kirby in command and Griff as his executive officer repel a kamikaze attack. Blithe’s (Don Taylor) engine sputters, and while attempting to return to base, he is shot down. Griff does not send help, despite Blithe’s entreaties and the squadron’s desire to turn back and help.
Kirby rams a kamikaze plane after he runs out of ammo. He bails out, is rescued, but suffers a broken right arm. Griff is given command of the squadron based on Kirby’s recommendation, since he made the tough call of not sending help to his brother-in-law Blithe.