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A Pilot’s View of D-Day

A Pilot’s View of D-Day

In his memoir, Lt. Col. Richard E. Turner recalled D-Day for the Ninth Air Force’s 354th Fighter Group at Maidstone, Kent. He described the “Pioneer Mustangs’” rare D-Day missions: night escort of troop carrier aircraft and gliders. Since the 25th of May, the group had been informed that it was on a six-hour alert status, […]
Silent Targets

Silent Targets

The glider gang behind the lines During the National WW II Glider Pilots Association’s 41st reunion in Oklahoma City in October 2011, glider pilots George L. Williams of Idaho and Norman C. Wilmeth of Oklahoma shared memories of their D-Day glider missions with the author. MISSION ELMIRA Normandy D-Day Flight Officer George L. Williams flew […]

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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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