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Never Call Me A Hero
A Memoir on the Battle of Midway
N. Jack “Dusty” Kleiss

William Morrow
05/23/17/ ISBN 978-0-06-269205-4
Military History - Memoir

Reviewed by Rick Morelli


Never Call Me a Hero by Jack “Dusty” Kleiss, the 100-year-old survivor of the Battle of Midway (he passed away in 2016), is a very matter-of-fact, non-dramatic account of his and other US naval aviators roles in the pivotal battle between the US and Imperial Japan naval forces in June 1942. Although there have been numerous accounts written on the battle in various military historical books, this first-person account, put down on paper over 60 years after the battle, provides a “you are there” account that is rarely, if ever, seen today.

Jack Kleiss was a naval aviator when war broke out between the US and Imperial Japan. A graduate of the Naval Academy and the Naval Flight School, he was thrust into several early skirmishes between the two adversaries before the climactic battle at Midway.

What I enjoyed most reading this engaging remembrance are the details of the attack by the US aviators on the Japanese carrier fleet and the shear bravery, determination and training that all came to bear in sinking the 4 Japanese carriers. His descriptions of dive-bombing the carriers are hair-raising, given the high risk of failure that could occur. Jack Kleiss reminds us that it was the approximately 60 US aviators who dealt the decisive blow to the Japanese Navy. What is the significance of this? In the first time in naval history, a major and decisive naval battle occurred where the adversarial ships were far away, out of sight and never directly engaged with each other. Jack Kleiss was one of those 60 aviators who made military history early June 1942.

Reviewed 2017