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The Junior Birdmen of America

The Junior Birdmen of America

A time when aviation was a youth activity By John Lockwood. As airplanes ceased to be novelties and became a major part of American life, the 1930s saw an explosion in the number of aviation clubs across the country. Probably the most successful of all was the Junior Birdmen of America, founded by the newspaper […]
In Theater: What They Wore

In Theater: What They Wore

The P-47 Thunderbolt pilot of 1945 wore and carried lots of stuff, and little of it gave meaning to the military term “uniform.” At Metz, France, in January 1945, the group and squadron commanders of the “Hell Hawks” 365th Fighter Group, posed in their gear in front of a wrecked Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf 190. The men […]

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Aviation Insider: A Tale of the Times

Aviation Insider: A Tale of the Times

We’ll lose the XC-99 and it won’t be alone   By Robert F. Dorr Big, historic airplanes could be the aeronautical definition of “conundrum” for museum people. No one wants to see a truly historic airplane, such as the XC-99 disintegrate into powdery oxide while in outside storage. However, the realities of space and financing determine […]
Classics: The Beerfire

Classics: The Beerfire

Keeping the cold beer flowing By Budd Davisson Does this picture really need explanation? It’s unknown whether the Axis routinely ferried beer to the front lines in drop tanks, but, reportedly, most of the Allied powers did. What’s more, it wasn’t unusual to top off a Mustang’s or Thunderbolt’s drops with beer, then have the […]

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Eyewitness to History: A Childhood Interrupted

Eyewitness to History: A Childhood Interrupted

By W. Joan Hawgood Hall, Former ACW.2 On September 1, 1939, my brother, Berkley, and I were being evacuated from London. Almost everything we owned was in our backpacks that Daddy had made for us, our gas masks in their boxes around our neck, our names on our coats. Mum and Dad came down to […]
Post D-Day Fighter Conference

Post D-Day Fighter Conference

Where Do We Go From Here? By Budd Davisson What we have here is an executive retreat held in Bottisham, Cambridgeshire,  home of the 361st FG, August 1944. It is a get-together of all fighter group COs in the 8th Air Force and represents a who’s who of Post D-Day fighter aviation. Front to back: […]

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56th FG Jugs: Paint Them Anything But Boring

56th FG Jugs: Paint Them Anything But Boring

By Stan Piet As the long-lived Thunderbolt group in the ETO, the 56th FG certainly sported some of the most varied camouflage plus squadron and individual markings in England. Upon arrival at Kings Cliffe in January 1943, its first combat-ready P-47C models bore a factory-standard olive drab over neutral gray livery. As the Thunderbolt was […]
Nocturnal Hunter — the first Corsair equipped with radar

Nocturnal Hunter — the first Corsair equipped with radar

Hunched in the cockpit of an F4U-2 Corsair in the darkest, blackest night he could remember, Second Lieutenant Frank Lang peered at the 6-inch scope in the center of his instrument panel and saw nothing significant to break up the green-yellow line inscribing a circle around the dial.

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Fighter Pilot: The Hero Comes of Age

Fighter Pilot: The Hero Comes of Age

The movies and the fighter pilot were made for each other. The motion-picture concept is generally credited to Thomas Edison in 1889, and he continually improved it through the 1890s into the next century. By the time World War I had begun, crude commercial movies were available, with the first heroes frequently being cowboys with […]
WW II Snapshot: A Moment Frozen in Time

WW II Snapshot: A Moment Frozen in Time

What do you see in this picture? Sharper than most WW II images, this one is of a fairly tranquil scene on the deck of CV-6, USS Enterprise. The shot was taken on May 15, 1942, and the red circles in their insignias had been painted over. That’s barely five months after Pearl Harbor and […]
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