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The Medal of  Honor Mess

The Medal of Honor Mess

Sorting through Problems with Our Highest Award The military awards and decorations system is broken. The Medal of Honor (MoH) is the prime example because of service agendas, insider influence, and political patronage. But we should remember that MoH recipients do not make the rules, although a few have influenced them. Eddie Rickenbacker lobbied Congress […]
Iconic Firepower: Seeing Eye Bombs

Iconic Firepower: Seeing Eye Bombs

In 1908, novelist H. G. Wells wrote The War in the Air, anticipating aerial fleets scourging enemy populations with weapons of undreamt power and accuracy. As an amateur scientist, he probably knew something about cathode-ray tubes, although he probably did not real­ize how they would ultimately influence aerial warfare. A century en route Experiments with […]

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Butcher Bird

Butcher Bird

Tale of the FW 190 In August 1941, a new shape appeared over the French coast: a blunt-nosed, elegantly pugnacious profile possessed of startling performance bearing black crosses. It was the product of a two-year program that immediately changed the Channel air war. Britain’s standard Spitfire Mk V could not compete with the Luftwaffe’s new […]
Hells Bells

Hells Bells

Learning the Hard Way Low-altitude combat in the P-40 October 1940: Off I go into the wild blue yonder! I was the oldest of six kids growing up in Tarboro, North Carolina, and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in October 1940. I was assigned to the Third Reconnaissance Squadron in Orlando, Florida, as an aerial […]

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The Race for The Secrets

The Race for The Secrets

Disarming and Digesting the Luftwaffe. The gathering of German aviation technology by the United States in the final days of World War II was not a happenstance. As early as October 1944, the AAF created the Air Disarmament Division in England with a two-fold mission: collect examples of German technology, and scrap everything else that […]
Bird Biplane – Lindbergh’s pick for Anne

Bird Biplane – Lindbergh’s pick for Anne

In 1929, Brunner-Winkle had a hit with their Bird model A biplane, but by the end of the 1920s, even the seemingly inexhaustible supply of surplus Curtiss OX-5 engines had begun to dry up. Airframe manufacturers were scrambling to find new engines, and at the same time, engine manufacturers had seen the writing on the […]

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Germany’s V-2 Rocket

Germany’s V-2 Rocket

The German word was Vergeltungswaffe, which means “retribution weapon” but is normally translated as “vengeance.” Generically, the V program included a family of advanced concepts beginning with the V-1 cruise missile. The “buzz bomb” carried an 1,800 lb. warhead at around 400mph, but was susceptible to defending fighters and anti-aircraft guns. (See Flight Journal, June […]
Land Now! 9/11 – An Anniversary Worth Remembering

Land Now! 9/11 – An Anniversary Worth Remembering

We at Flight Journal consider it to be an honor to present stories of those who were directly involved in the events of 9/11 as pilots or flight crew. This is yet another view of the event that has shaped our present and our future. “Our plane has been hijacked. Flight attendant #1 stabbed. Flight […]

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The Ever-Present Sidewinder

The Ever-Present Sidewinder

Kern County, California, 1952: a 1949 Kaiser raced down a desert runway with a streamlined object fitted to a crude bracket on the right side. Lacking a wind tunnel, the passengers — engineers in the front and back seats — took notes on the model’s aerodynamic performance. They were testing the XAAM-N-7, the world’s first […]
In Theater: Operation Magic Carpet

In Theater: Operation Magic Carpet

In the summer of 1945, the U.S. military spawned a generation of poets who shared one sentiment: “Those who want to be a hero, They number almost zero. Those who want to be civilians… Gee—they number in the millions!” As early as 1943, the Pentagon began contingency planning for returning millions of personnel from overseas […]
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