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Riders on the Storm – Attack of the Navy’s Little-Known Seawolves

Riders on the Storm – Attack of the Navy’s Little-Known Seawolves

“Riders on the storm. Riders on the storm. Into this house we’re born. Into this world we’re thrown.” —The Doors, 1971 Seawolf Formation In 1967, the U.S. Navy established Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three, commonly known as HA(L)-3, unclassified call sign: “Seawolf.” The in-country formation and disestablishment in 1972 was a historic first. The Navy […]
The Last Raider is Still Going Strong

The Last Raider is Still Going Strong

At 101 years of age, Lt. Col. Richard Cole (USAF, retired) is still a man with a mission. The last survivor of the 80 officers and enlisted men who followed then Col. Jimmy Doolittle off the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet for the first air raid against Japan on April 18, 1942, Cole’s […]

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Mitchells in the Med

Mitchells in the Med

Wavetop warfare: Skip-bombing and Big Guns When the North American NA-62, officially dubbed B-25, first flew in August of 1940, it was less than a roaring success. The UK and France had just chosen the smaller Douglas DB-7 Boston (A-20 Havoc) attack bomber over the North American design. However, in the years leading up to […]
Like Father, Like Son – Confessions of a second-generation fighter pilot

Like Father, Like Son – Confessions of a second-generation fighter pilot

There were two things that got me interested in aviation while I was a kid growing up in the 1930s, model airplanes and my father Howard. My dad, of course, was the bigger influence, not because of his job in the banking business, but what he accomplished years before I was even born. Although he […]

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The First Bridge – The Vietnam War Had to Start Somewhere

The First Bridge – The Vietnam War Had to Start Somewhere

General Curtis E. LeMay, Air Force Chief of Staff, was not happy. First line U.S. fighters had been in South East Asia in small numbers since 1960. By mid-1964, more fighters began rotating through bases in South Vietnam and Thailand, as a show of force. Reconnaissance missions, with a pair of fighters as escorts, known […]
D-Day: Planning the  Aerial  Assault

D-Day: Planning the Aerial Assault

Today the numbers involved in Operation Overlord are unthinkable: 6,000 bombers, more than 5,000 fighters, some 1,600 transport aircraft, and 2,500 gliders. All crammed into scores of airfields throughout Britain, but mainly in southern England. All were serviced, armed, and assigned aircrews, eager to take off on the day called “D.” That spring, the American […]

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Pacemaker:  Bellanca’s 1929 Heavy Hauler

Pacemaker: Bellanca’s 1929 Heavy Hauler

An old workhorse goes back to work We only have roads into town three months of the year, while all the lakes and rivers are frozen. Otherwise the only way into Norman Wells and many of the other communities around us is by airplane. Usually float planes. That’s why I had the Bellanca CH-300 restored. […]
Hawk 33 – A Day in the Life of a Vietnam Cobra Pilot

Hawk 33 – A Day in the Life of a Vietnam Cobra Pilot

March 20, 1971, was not a good day for American and Vietnamese forces engaged in Operation Lam Son 719. Originally billed as the operation that would prove the success of “Vietnamization,” that the South Vietnamese Army and Marines were capable of taking on North Vietnamese main force units successfully, the incursion into Laos was becoming […]

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Underwater Aircraft Carriers

Underwater Aircraft Carriers

Sneaking Up On America … Again Pearl Harbor was the first. The American West Coast was to be next for a sneak bacteriological attack. Then, bomb New York City and obliterate the Panama Canal. According to the Japanese High Command, that was all to be accomplished early in the conflict—and they were deadly serious about […]
Little Friends Over the Beach

Little Friends Over the Beach

They must have been a sight for sore eyes to the soldiers on the beach as wave after wave of fighters, bombers, and paratrooper-stuffed transports, some towing gliders, passed overhead, all of them adorned with black and white painted stripes. The invasion was on, and many of the fighter pilots expecting a Luftwaffe slugfest were […]
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