Dive Bomber Down

James A. Nist, Naval Aviator in the Pacific War


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About the Book

James A. Nist lived an extraordinary life in his 24 years. Raised on a New Jersey farm, he graduated high school at 16 and earned both a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a private pilot’s license. In 1942, he joined the Navy as an aviation cadet, earning his wings and an officer’s commission in the Naval Reserve. He became proficient in three of the Navy’s high-performance combat aircraft: the SBD Dauntless dive-bomber, the F6F Hellcat fighter and the F4U Corsair fighter. In 1945, he deployed to the Pacific aboard the carrier USS Bunker Hill and flew combat missions over Japan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Drawing on Nist’s letters and personal papers and official Navy documents, historian Bryan J. Dickerson tells the story of his great uncle’s life and service during World War II.

About the Author(s)

Bryan J. Dickerson is a military and naval historian and a twice deployed Navy veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He lives in Blackwood, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Bryan J. Dickerson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 258
Bibliographic Info: 33 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9246-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5045-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

U.S. Navy Officer Ranks in World War II ix
Prologue: Off the Coast of Imperial Japan 1
Introduction 3
1. James A. Nist—His Life Before the U.S. Navy 5
2. Naval Aviation Cadet 15
3. Ensign James A. Nist, Naval Aviator 49
4. Navy Fighting Squadron 84 78
5. Deploying on USS Bunker Hill 114
6. Tokyo and Iwo Jima 127
7. With the Fast Carrier Task Force in March 1945 154
8. The Invasion of Okinawa 173
9. The War Goes On 178
10. Missing in Action 185
11. Honors and Tributes 196
12. Shorty Nist’s Final Mission 200
Epilogue 204
Appendix: Nist Chronology 205
Chapter Notes 209
Bibliography 237
Index 245