WWII

Tuskegee Airmen
Jerry Kenney/WYSO / NMUSAF

This month, the National Museum of the United States Air Force is featuring an exhibit dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen—an all African-American army air corps squadron who served in the WWII.  The museum has expanded the exhibit, and to find out more about the Airmen and their historical significance, we spoke with museum historian Dr. Jeff Underwood. In the following interview, Underwood calls the inception of the Tuskegee Airmen into WWII a 'watershed moment' in American military and civil rights history.

Today our Veterans Voices series continues as we learn about Army veteran Jim Martin who despite being 93 years old, parachuted into Normandy this year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Jim was in the now famous 506th parachute infantry regiment featured in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. He was nicknamed “Pee Wee” because he was the lightest man in the unit. At the end of the war, Jim returned to Xenia to build a house, raise a family, and live a modest life. But when Jim got online and connected with social media, his popularity reached celebrity status.

Jeremy Dobbins

Jeremy Dobbins served four years as an infantry rifleman in Afghanistan, and when he got out in 2012 he found it difficult to talk to people about his military experience. But when he was ready, he chose to tell his stories to an old family friend from Springfield named Charlie Dyke.

Jeremy had joined the Marine Corps at age 17. Charlie enlisted during World War II shortly after his 18th birthday. Both men returned to Springfield after their service ended to raise families and begin new lives.

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

November 11 marks Veterans Day, when the country honors all who served. Our aviation commentator Dan Patterson has some thoughts about one of the veterans in his family and her remembrances of flight.

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

Seventy years ago, the country was deep into World War Two, and the US was on the offensive in the air.  Commentator Dan Patterson says that the big US four engine bombers were being shot down in shocking numbers.

Think about this: on one mission, we lost sixty bombers.  That's six hundred men.  It was just too much.

The US needed a fighter plane with long pegs, one that could go all way deep into Germany and protect the bombers, essentially win the air war and provide the long sought after supremacy of the air.

Over 56,000 American troops have been listed as missing in action in wars that have been fought over the past century. The majority of these soldiers were lost in the Pacific theater during WWII. In "Vanished"  Wil Hylton traces what became of the eleven man crew of an American B-24 bomber that crashed in 1944 near the remote Pacific archipelago of Palau. Divers searching for the underwater wreckage of the plane eventually located it. Wil Hylton describes how the search for this missing plane happened.

Dan Patterson Collection

History is broken down into the moments we remember about our own lives, like weddings and birthdays and graduations, and then there are days when we pause to remember together, as a nation, an event that affected us all.

Pearl Harbor Day, just passed, when Japanese pilots attacked American navy ships north of Honolulu, is one of those, even though it's now more than 7 decades passed. Commentator Dan Patterson finds himself finds himself turning it over and over in his mind.

Dan Patterson

Seventy years ago, World War 2 was in full cry. American was in combat across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In Europe, during 1943, the US Army Air Force was engaged against Hitler's Germany. The fall was a crucial time for battle, and October was a cruel month.

Defeating an enemy only with air power was experimental back then.  The American plan was this: equip large bomber with heavy machine guns, fly them in a tight formation with hundreds of identical planes and no long range fighters as escorts.  Could it work?

If you're going to fly an airplane, you've got to have the right look.  An aviator's kit is not complete without the real deal flight jacket - plus the big watch, sunglasses, checklist charts and navigational equipment.  Aviation commentator Dan Patterson explains.

Flying the very early airplanes was a breezy affair.  The Wright brothers' aeroplanes offered no protection from the wind.  Their flying machines were wide open, and they sat on the edge of the lower wing, facing the wind.

Veterans of a daring and costly World War II low-flying raid on Axis oil fields are gathering in Dayton this week for a 70th anniversary reunion.

Those participating in the Ploesti Raid reunion at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will arrive today, gathering for dinner followed by private events Wednesday. On the raid anniversary Thursday, there will be a public memorial service at the museum, and a chance to meet veterans.

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