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From the Magazine

Tally-Ho!

Tally-Ho!

A young man, his Hurricane and the Battle of Britain
Runt of the Litter

Runt of the Litter

I was only 5 feet 4 inches tall when I graduated from flight training in 1943, but my instructors saw something gigantic inside of me. I was one of 60 Second Lieutenants selected out of 400 to go into fighters—P-47 Thunderbolts to be exact. When I first saw the airplane I would fly in combat, […]

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What if WW II had lasted two more years?

What if WW II had lasted two more years?

Gott mit uns. It was imprinted on the buckle of every German soldier: “God with us.” And so it seemed that day in 1946. From the abyss of disaster in late 1944, the Third Reich won a seemingly heaven-sent reprieve in the wake of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s assassination. With Russia descending into civil war, […]
Messerschmitt  at the Beginning: An Icon is Born

Messerschmitt at the Beginning: An Icon is Born

At the age of 15, “Willy” Messerschmitt, who would eventually become a near-legend during WW II, started his apprenticeship with a group of “free-flight” enthusiasts in his hometown of Bamberg, in Bavaria. It was 1913; some 10 years after the Wright Brothers had flown, when Messerschmitt joined with the 33-year-old architect Friedrich Harth in experiments […]

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The Turncoat’s Raid

The Turncoat’s Raid

Our Bombers Were Led by a Japanese Officer He was called the Benedict Arnold of Mindanao, a turncoat to the Empire of Japan. Yet few turncoats were as honorably and honestly motivated as Minoru Wada, a WW II Japanese prisoner of war, who voluntarily led an American air strike against his own military because of […]
Mission into Darkness

Mission into Darkness

Flying the SB2C Helldiver into probable suicide On June 19, 1944, Task Force-58’s (TF-58) fighter and dive-bomber aircrews celebrated the combined destruction of 380 Japanese airplanes during the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. But our exhilaration was almost dashed the very next day when we went hunting for the fleeing Japanese fleet. Those of us flying […]

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Before Its Name Was Mitchell: Free Wallpaper

Before Its Name Was Mitchell: Free Wallpaper

In response to a 1938 USAAC request for a twin-engine light attack bomber, North American Aviation submitted a prototype they designate NA-40. Powered by two P & W R-1830s eventually developing 1,600 hp each, the prototype crashed. But we would hear from it again. Visualize the NA-40 with a much wider fuselage and side-by-side cockpit […]
Life Among the Nukes

Life Among the Nukes

By sheer coincidence, I am, at 86, one of relatively few ex-SAC members who can recall both how it was in the Strategic Air Command before General Curtis LeMay’s influence, and afterwards. It was a unique time in my life. In those days, the Strategic Air Command was a cocked fist carrying a knockout blow. […]

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Escape From Agana Harbor

Escape From Agana Harbor

On June 6, 1944, while the Allies landed at Normandy, the greatest American combat fleet yet seen in the Pacific sailed from Majuro anchorage. Its goal was the Mariana Islands, 1,800 miles to the north-northwest. Seven heavy fleet carriers and eight light carriers of Task Force 58 under Admiral Marc Mitscher would support 535 ships […]
Iconic Firepower: SAM SA-2:  The Aviator’s  Real Enemy

Iconic Firepower: SAM SA-2: The Aviator’s Real Enemy

U-2 reconnaissance aircraft was destroyed in flight over central Russia. From more than 60,000 feet, Francis Gary Powers parachuted into captivity for two years, giving Moscow a huge propaganda victory over President Dwight Eisenhower, who pledged to stop all overflights. The surface to air missile had arrived: the NATO alliance called it the SA-2 Guideline. […]
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