Interwiev with the ‘Angel of death’-Saburo Sakai

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Nov 9, 2005
By the time Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, attacked the Philippine Islands, and brought the United States into the Second World War, Japan's military was already the best trained and battle tested force in the world. This was especially true of Japan's elite-the Imperial Japanese Navy pilots, and of these men the IJN fighter pilot was the cream of the proverbial crop.

Saburo Sakai was a most distinguished person, although not simply for his combat record of sixty-four confirmed aerial victories. Sakai never lost a wingman in battle, and he always managed to bring his damaged aircraft home throughout over 200 missions, despite terrible personal wounds and the incredible damage often inflicted upon his Mitsubishi Zero. Sakai became just as much of a legend after the war due to is humanity and friendly demeanor. His book Samurai! was the first memoir to be published by a Japanese veteran and has been a consistent best seller.

Saburo Sakai granted a series of interviews to Colin D. Heaton and the late Jeffrey L. Ethell between 1984-1998, prior to Saburo's death in September 2000. His exploits have become aviation legend, and his stature as an honorable and worthy adversary during the most brutal period in modern Japanese military history remains intact.


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