Napoleon said that his soldiers' only view of Russia was the rear view of the men in front, and that's pretty much the case with me. It was only after reading many history books concerning the war that I was able to ascertain the significance of the actions of which I was a part.
Charles McCandless
Book Author


In his memoir, “A Flash of Green:  Memories of WWII”, the late Charles S. McCandless recounts his World War II experiences in the Pacific Theater – first as a naval aviator and then as a Seabee.  McCandless brings the history of pivotal battles alive with his vivid descriptions and engaging style.

The author opens his memoir with accounts of his life before the war—his first jobs after graduating from Stanford in 1939 and his trip to Hawaii in 1941.  With war impending, he becomes a naval aviator. His war experiences began on December 7, when he was near the USS Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  He goes on to describe being shot down at the Battle of Midway, crashing at Guadalcanal, and doing underwater reconnaissance as a frogman at Iwo Jima.  Narrated with striking clarity, the memoir gives the reader a glimpse into historical events in America’s history and the on-the-ground realities of the war.

Book reviews

Fascinating and powerful description of life and key events of WWII in the Pacific. Gripping and quite the page turner and could easily be turned into movie. Loved the detail of how McCandless went about becoming a pilot and then an engineer with SeeBees, and all that he accomplished during that time, as well as the honest descriptions of the hardship and pain that war creates.
Shaun Webb
Excellent and descriptive view of life in WW11 in the Pacific. Highly recommend!
We are told that the United States is losing 1,500 World War II veterans every day, and with them bits of our nation's history are lost. McCandless brings this history to life, sharing stories that even many in the Special Ops community are unaware of today. He retells his experiences in an easy, vivid, and informative style, leaving readers wishing he were still here to sit down with over a beer.
LCDR Timothy A. "Tad" Devine
Fascinating story of a very talented and brave man who (as luck would have it) was present during several significant episodes of WWII history, starting with Pearl Harbor. A page turner, up to the end with his use of street smarts to get home after the Japanese surrender.
Insight into the term "Greatest Generation


Charles McCandless (1917-2001) attended Stanford University before becoming a Naval officer in the Pacific Theater.  Throughout his life, he was an avid reader of history, focusing on World War II and his place in it.  After the war, he completed masters degrees in engineering and economics at Stanford.  He went on to build two successful businesses:  a sanitary engineering firm and, later, a real estate development and construction company in the heart of what would become the Silicon Valley.


1 page 91
2 page 111
3 page 166
1 page 91

We had reached the old BOQ by now and were standing between it and the Arizona. Suddenly a great roar engulfed us—seemingly from all directions—as planes flying very low swept in from the east, passing low over our heads. A large red ball was painted on the under surface of their wings.

2 page 111

Suddenly I felt a buffeting. We’d been hit, but the controls felt okay. I looked around at the gunner, whose back was turned toward me. The top of his head was gone. When I turned back I saw a stream of smoke coming from the engine, and oil splattered on the windshield. I knew, then, that in only a minute the plane would be in flames.

3 page 166

Then it came. Suddenly, there was yelling and screaming. What must have been fifty Japanese riflemen, bayonets leveled, leaped out of the jungle on the other side of the airfield and started running towards us.

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