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Literature / Wingmen

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Wingmen is a M/M romance/military/historical fiction written by Ensan Case, first published in 1979.

Jack Hardigan's Hellcat fighter squadron blew the Japanese Zekes out of the blazing Pacific skies. But a more subtle kind of hell was brewing in his feelings for rookie pilot Fred Trusteau. As another wingman watches - and waits for the beautiful woman who loves Jack - Hardigan and Trusteau cut a fiery swath through the skies from Wake Island to Tarawa to Truk, there to keep a fateful rendezvous with love and death in the blood-clouded waters of the Pacific.

The book has been republished since 2012 by Cheyenne Publishing, and since 2014 by Lethe Press.

Wingmen contains examples of:

  • Ace Pilot
  • Act of True Love
  • A Father to His Men: Downplayed with Skipper and his squadron: he cares for his men, but he maintains a professional relationship with them. Admiral Berkey also fits this trope.
  • Battle Couple
  • Beta Couple
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: In a realistic version of this trope, when Fred is badly injured and forced to bail out of his sinking plane, the water around him is noted to be brownish in color.
  • Cannot Spit It Out
  • Cool Plane: In the American side, the Squadron VF-20 flies Hellcats; other planes mentioned are the Dauntless, the Avengers, and the Corsairs.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence
  • Friend or Foe
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Downplayed; the VF-20 started as a regular squadron and ended up as one of the deadliest, becoming a major asset in air battles against the Japanese.
  • I Got You Covered
  • In-Series Nickname: These are usually given by the pilots themselves, and are used as callsigns in battle.
    • "Skipper" for Jack Hardigan.
    • "Trusty" for Fred Trusteau. Later on, he gains the callsign "Killer".
    • "Boom" for the C.O. Bloomington.
    • "Woody" for the bomber skipper Heywood.
  • New Meat: Several new pilots are added to the VF-20 squadron at the start of the book, Fred Trusteau being the last to be added. During the course of the war, new pilots are being added. Not all of them survive.
  • Old School Dogfight
  • Squad Nickname: the VF-20 is nicknamed Jack's after their skipper, Jack Hardigan.
  • Suicide Mission
  • War Is Hell: Great detail is given to the stressful job of a fighter pilot, but special mention goes to the description of the Invasion of Betio Island: Marines and Japanese soldiers fighting in the shores, amidst the smoke and piles of dead bodies, under the falling bombs, with their comrades suddenly dropping dead at their side.
  • Wing Man: The book revolves around the story of the Skipper and his wingman. Other pilots have their wingmen as well.