The sheer amount of information that's been produced about World War II in the Pacific, and is available now especially due to the evolution of the Internet, is simply mind-boggling. As an author with a passion for historical authenticity, it's nothing short of miraculous. For the family member hoping to find out about a relative who was a veteran of that war, and what that war was like for him, it's a godsend.
Below I've listed those websites that I've found the most helpful in my own research, and books that have helped me fill out that picture even more.
Group and squadron histories and records, photos, diaries, newsletters and more from Ken's Men, courtesy of the 43rd Bomb Group Association. Their quarterly newsletters are the most professional and informative of any group I've seen.
Peter Dunn has personally amassed, and continues to daily, one of the Internet's greatest resources on the war in the Pacific, air and otherwise, as it relates to Australia. Not to be missed.
While its primary mission is to locate those who have gone missing in action and preserving crash sites around the world, Pacific Wrecks has become an invaluable research tool on the locations, aircraft, and naval vessels of the Pacific theater.
Complemented by a massive and growing photo collection, this ambitious site breaks down the story of WWII by people, events, locations, and vehicles, with summaries, chronologies, and official documents as well.
Chuck Varney's website dedicated to this squadron is a fascinating education in itself, but his discussion of the hardware used in the type of aerial reconnaissance and mapping done by the Eager Beavers and the rest of the 43rd is incredibly informative.
The NPRC is part of the National Archives, and houses personnel records for both the U.S. military and civil services. Searching for a veteran's records? This is the place to start.
The war in the Southwest Pacific is so vast in subject matter, it next to impossible to capture all of its complexities. Fortunately, the bomber war in the theater has benefitted from some exceptional writers and, over the last couple of decades in particular, historians, researchers, and authors working together to piece together the tapestry that was their war. Even so, sometimes is's the single author relating his personal experiences that brings the real character of the war, the individual experience of it, most to light.
The following collection consists of books that I have and haven't read. Those I haven't are included based on their high recommendations from readers in general and experts on the theater whose opinion on the subject matter I trust.
IHRA's magnificent Pacific bomb group histories have to be seen to be believed—detailed histories and mission descriptions, aircraft profiles and paintings, and so much more. Ken's Men Against the War Vol. 1 follows the 43rd BG from its formation to the B-24 transition in 1943, Vol. 2 through the end of the war.
In this epic, well-regarded trilogy, Bruce Gamble details the transformation of the sleepy, tourist port of Rabaul into “Fortress Rabaul,” the headquarters of Japanese forces in the Southwest Pacific, and the long, arduous Allied effort to neutralize it. It plays a central role in the story of the 43rd BG in the early stages of the war, and in the story of the Eager Beavers.
Steve Birdsall set the original high bar for aviation research and writing. A classic of the air war in the Southwest Pacific, his account of the Fifth Air Force is rightly celebrated for its blend of historical facts with rich accounts from the actual participants. Criminally out of print, find it if you can. You won't be disappointed.
World War II grants a young Kansan his dream of flying, but changes his fate in ways he never expected. Drawing inspiration from the bomber war in the SW Pacific and his own life, this novel from private pilot/author Del Hayes nails the period as only a member of that generation can, the passion of flight as only a pilot can, and the excitement and pain of changing fortunes as only someone who's lived it can.
A poignant and compelling look, told through letters and official documents, at the efforts of one Brooklyn mother to get her sons back—navigator Charles Lewis, a contemporary of Sarnoski and Zeamer who went missing on a reconnaissance mission to "Fortress Rabaul" on June 1, 1943, and his younger brother Ben, an infantryman taken prisoner by the Germans in December 1944.
B-17 pilot Jim Murphy was part of the 43rd's legendary 63rd Bomb Squadron that first successfully refined the low-level skip-bombing technique that helped turn the tide in the Pacific war. I've read no other memoir that so vividly paints the picture of the early bomber war in the SW Pacific. Unfortunately out of print at Amazon, I'm listing it here because it's worth the search.