Pleased that I discovered this book
By Ron Miner
Ron Miner, author of “Sketches of a Black Cat”
It has been my good fortune to have had the pleasure of interviewing quite a number of WWII Black Cats in the last few years, and I dearly wish Henry Lawrence had been one of them. But thanks to his daughter, Pamela Ackerson, Henry’s legacy is preserved for any who are a little curious about those night flying Cats, as well as enthusiasts like myself.
Long before he ever operated a radio on board a PBY painted entirely black, ARM Lawrence endured an experience only a few of us can imagine. In vivid detail, he describes the morning of December 7th as he and his fellow crewman struggled to set up defenses, protect planes, and help wounded on Ford Island as the smoke and fires raged in the harbor surrounding them. His indoctrination into the war was sudden. With their PBYs destroyed, he would now embark on a new and different journey to wide-ranging locations throughout the Pacific theater.
This memoir reads easily and feels like you are sitting in Henry’s own living room as he serves up his experiences in training and combat. In my case, the know-how of this “Just a Radioman” was fascinating, as I had yet to meet one who had flown in a PBY. The extent of his Black Cat adventures in late 1944 was another surprise. They were still extremely active and focused on night search and attack missions. The crew launched themselves into numerous glide bombing and strafing runs with enemy shipping that are methodically described, and they were appropriately decorated for their courageous efforts.