By Eric Hammel After the Japanese stopped resisting in the skies over Rabaul and pulled their aircraft out of the Solomons and Bismarcks battle area in mid-February 1944, it began to appear that U.S. Marine Air’s glory days were over. From August 20, 1942, until February 17, 1944, Marine Air had carved a significant, perhaps central, position for itself in the prosecution of the grinding war in the South Pacific. Several thousand Marine pilots and bomber crewmen had taken a leading role in b

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