Project 7 Alpha (MWSA Historical Fiction 2012 Gold Award winner),Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal and soon, End Game in the Pacific
From the Author: LCDR Leland “Chip” Shanle Jr.
I’m one of the lucky few; my occupation is my passion. A few years ago I was flying a training mission at twilight off the coast of Southern California. The Hale-Bopp comet was blazing overhead. I decided to get a better look; dumping the nose of my F-4N Phantom II, I held it at zero g as I shoved the throttles to full afterburner. With no induced drag on the aircraft, the J79-GE-8 engines very quickly pushed the jet supersonic. Leveling at 35,000, its best energy addition altitude, I let the Phantom run up to 1.5 Mach and then began a climb.
Burying the needle of the VSI above it’s 6,000 feet per minute climb limit, the Phantom ascended toward the peeking stars. I should have leveled at 50,000 feet, the limit without a pressure suit, but I didn’t.
Above me the stars were coming alive for the night, below me was the ocean, glistening in the pastel color of a sun just set. Glancing to the east was the coast and San Diego; the city’s lights brighter than the emerging stars. To the west the curvature of the earth was accentuated by the dark ocean against back lit sky.
Finally I looked up to the moon and watched as the Hale-Bopp Comet streaked the sky, just below it. I wondered how I could share this; and some of the other amazing and horrific things I’ve seen in a life of aviation. I have since tried through: film, video, and mostly the written word.
Most recently I shared it through Discovery’s Curiosity Series in the Documentary:
Major motion pictures I’ve contributed to include:
I am currently working on combining all of the disciplines mentioned to bring my first novel to life: I have written a screen play based on Project 7 Alpha (currently with a major studio in LA); the plan is to use the technology from the documentary Plan Crash for live action scenes. NO CGI! Real aircraft in their glory or in their death captured on film.
I have written a Trilogy of novels set in WWII, I invite you read about them below:
WINNER OF THE HISTORICAL FICTION AWARD for 2012 (Gold Medal Award); by the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA). PROJECT 7 ALPHA, IS THE FIRST NOVEL IN A TRILOGY SET IN WWII: In late 1941, President Roosevelt agonized over the rapid advances of the Japanese forces in Asia, they seemed unstoppable. He foresaw their intentions of taking India and linking up with the two other Axis Powers, Germany and Italy, in an attempt to conquer the Eastern Hemisphere. US naval forces had been severely surprised and diminished in Pearl Harbor and the army was outnumbered and ill-prepared to take on the invading hoards. One of his few options was to form a defensive line on the eastern side of the Patkai and Himalayan Ranges, there he could look for support from the Chinese and Burmese. It was to be the only defence to a Japanese invasion of India.To support and supply these troops, fighting in hostile jungle terrain where overland routes had been cut off, he desperately needed to set up an air supply from Eastern India. His problem was lack of aircraft and experienced pilots to fly the dangerous ‘Hump, over the world’s highest mountains. Hence came Operation Seven Alpha, a plan to enlist the aircraft, DC-3s, and pilots, veterans of World War One, of American Airlines. This newly formed Squadron would fly these medium-range aircraft in a series of long-distance hops across the Pacific and Southern Asia to the Assam Valley in India. They would then create and operate the vital supply route carrying arms, ammunition and food Eastward to the Allied bases and return with wounded personnel. This is the story of this little-known operation in the early days of the Burma Campaign.
This book is based on the true experiences of those who were involved and is a fitting tribute to the bravery and inventiveness of a band of men who answered their country’s desperate call at the outset of the war against Japan in Asia.
“…very detailed… you can almost feel your feet getting cold and you want to turn up the oxygen….a really great historical read.” IPMS, 07/2009
“…an excellent story concerning this forgotten and misunderstood area of WWII”Aeroscale, 07/2009
VENGEANCE IS THE SECOND NOVEL IN A TRILOGY SET IN WWII. Action explodes from the pages of Novelist LC Shanle’s latest. World War II experienced from the cockpits of fighter aircraft, and through the eyes of men trapped in island Tropical Hells. Written by a retired Naval Aviator and former Paratrooper; the author puts the reader in the F-4F Wildcat and jungle, as warriors engage in a titanic struggle around the globe.
A diverse and rich cast of characters reveal the sacrifice and frustrations of war. A no holds bar accounting of the actual battles, shown through the eyes of the novels characters, uncovers mistakes and even incompetence at the highest levels. Vengeance shows the disastrous results of these decisions, on the lowest common denominator; the war fighter. Closely following the actual battles of Midway and Guadalcanal the reader gets an insider’s view so vivid the smell of cordite will hang in the air.
A rare perspective written by an author that flew modern fighters over the historic battlefields, even from the decks of aircraft carriers that fought in the Pacific. A riveting story, Vengeance tells of the impact at an individual level, a personal level; of an entire world at war. From the struggles of a young man in Officer Candidate School facing down a sadistic Drill Instructor; to entire fleets engaging in War At Sea.
Vengeance will pull back the curtain of historical perspective and frame it in reality. The harsh reality will come as a shock to readers who have read of great victories. But know little of the tremendous cost; like fifteen hundred sailors lost in a single nights battle, all five of the Sullivan brothers among them.
To the soldier, sailor or airman: war is about the small unit they are a part of and the struggle not only to stay alive, but protect their comrades. Sometimes, even to avenge their deaths.
Shanle’s latest novel; End Game in the Pacific, will be released in the new year.
“Fast paced as well as technically accurate and detailed–a rare combination. ”
Mark Berry | 4 reviewers made a similar statement
“As a retired Naval Aviator and son of a WWII Naval Aviator, I appreciate good historical fiction–especially anything involving Naval Aviation. ” Carnac767 | 2 reviewers made a similar statement
“5 stars, hands down! ”
John Hanson | 1 reviewer made a similar statement
END GAME IN THE PACIFIC is the third novel in the Trilogy set in WWII. It follows the characters of P7A and Vengeance as WWII reaches it’s climactic end. Climb in the cockpit of an F-6F Hellcat during the Marianas Turkey shoot and Battle of the Philippine Sea. Or among the air armadas that engaged over Europe. Feel what it is like to be shot down. Set for release in the summer of 2013 it is the climactic end of a riveting Trilogy.