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 […]
Flying Skulls over Burma By the time I graduated from high school in Oklahoma during 1940 at the ripe old age of 19, I could see that the United States was going to get dragged into a world war. I had grown up in a farming family during the Great Depression and had felt the […]
On January 23, 2010, a retired Air Force officer died in San Diego, California, age 96. His name was Kermit A. Tyler. For most of his life, he was one of the least understood players in the Pearl Harbor tragedy. On December 7, 1941, Tyler was the officer who told radar operators plotting a large […]
Drones are not, as is often assumed, a 21st-century development. Far from it. Their history goes back more than 100 years, but the rate at which they are changing our everyday life continues to accelerate. So we thought it is worth looking back and seeing where the concept came from, how it developed, and where […]
The world’s air forces continue developing and buying extremely expensive fighter aircraft amid a continuing conundrum: Significant air combat has been nearly extinct for decades. Since the last air combats over Vietnam in 1973, American fighter pilots have shot down merely 54 hostile aircraft. (Of those, six were helicopters and four were trainers.) That’s barely […]
Back then, junior year of high school should have been filled with coming-of-age memories, football pep rallies, and homecoming dances. Visiting colleges, choosing high-school sweethearts, and exploring possible careers should have been in the thoughts of soon-to-be seniors. Pearl Harbor changed all that. The very real world war and deciding to fight his country’s enemies […]
Everyone has to start somewhere The trainer theme of this issue reverberates with me personally, so I hope you won’t mind if I climb out from behind my editor’s desk and talk like the pilot I am and always have been. When looking at some of the trainer images, I couldn’t help but reflect on […]
It was a global war foughton an industrial scale unlike anything before or since. Conservatively, it consumed at least 55 million lives while overturning the way humans regarded their nations, their worlds, and themselves. It also spurred the greatest technological revolution of all time: in five years, going from 250mph biplane fighters in some nations to 550mph jets and ocean-spanning bombers that delivered atomic weapons. Supporting the vast American effort were huge training establishments for the U.S. Army Air Force (AAF) and the U.S. Navy (USN). This is their story.
The images of the attack on Pearl Harbor will be forever etched in the mind’s eye of Americans everywhere. As with the images of the airliners hitting the World Trade Center towers, the fire and smoke of December 7, 1941, can’t be erased from our memories. We seldom see, however, photos that portray the aftermath […]
Back in the mid-1930s, when I was a teenager in California, I used to spend a lot of time fishing off the municipal pier at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. I was standing on the pier one day when a flight of 16 to 20 Boeing P-26s came roaring by fast and low in tight formation. I will never forget the look of the pilots, with their heads sticking out of the cockpit and their white silk scarves billowing behind them, all looking like Eddie Rickenbacker.