World War II

The Fighting Arkansans

The Fighting Arkansans

Lloyd L. "Scooter" Burke - the most highly decorated soldier in Arkansas' history - was born in Tichnor (Arkansas County) on September 29, 1924, one of five children of A. D. Burke, a foreman at a lumber mill in Clarendon (Monroe County) and his wife, Belly Burke. In 1942, Lloyd Burke graduated from Stuttgart High School and enrolled at Henderson State Teachers College, now Henderson State University. In 1943 when Burke was 18-years-old, he dropped out of Henderson State College and joined the...

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The Original Flying Ladies

The Original Flying Ladies

Like most Americans in the late 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt was not eager for the United States to get embroiled in a global military conflict.  However, unlike fervent isolationists, he felt it was inevitable over time and began taking some steps in preparation for such an eventuality.  He pushed Congress into doubling the size of the Navy, creating a draft (approved by a close vote of 203 to 202), provided military hardware to friendly foreign nations, and ordered the Navy to...

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Midway and Guadalcanal

Midway and Guadalcanal

There is some debate on the turning point of the war in the Pacific Theatre. Some historians believe the Allied victory at the Battle of Midway was the defining moment, followed by aggressive island-hopping all the way to the Japanese homeland. Others view Midway as the tipping point in the war where the initiative hung in the balance only to swing toward the Allies following its major victory in the Guadalcanal campaign. According to many other historians, however, the turning point of the...

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The Muslim Princess Spy

The Muslim Princess Spy

Biography of Nur Inayat Khan Noor Inayat Khan was born New Year's Day 1914 in Moscow to Hazrat Inayat Khan an Indian Sufi mystic of royal lineage and his American wife, Ora Ray Baker, half-sister of Perry Baker, often credited with introducing yoga into America. On her father's side, she was the great-great-great-granddaughter of Tipu Sultan, the celebrated Muslim ruler of Mysore, who in the 18th Century successfully fought the British, stemming their advance into South India. He was killed in...

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First WW II Aircraft Crew to Reach 25 Missions

First WW II Aircraft Crew to Reach 25 Missions

1917, and 1918, the United States government issued Liberty Bonds to raise money for our involvement in World War I. By the summer of 1940 when it appeared the United States would be drawn into World War II, bonds again were being sold as a way to remove money from circulation as well as reduce inflation. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the bonds became known at War Bonds. To promote selling the War Bonds, rallies were held throughout the country with famous...

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Rise and Fall of the SR-71 Blackbird

Rise and Fall of the SR-71 Blackbird

During the last few years of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union - both long weary of the other - became unlikely allies against Adolf Hitler's takeover of Eastern Europe. Following the defeat of German in 1945, however, the wartime allies became mortal enemies, locked in a global struggle to prevail militarily, ideologically, and politically in a new "Cold War." To learn of the other side's military and technical capabilities, their actions and intentions, both sides used...

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Bayonet Charge

Bayonet Charge

Following World War I, Americans reached the conclusion that our country's participation in that war had been a disastrous mistake, one which should never be repeated again. This resulted in a major segment of the population becoming "isolationist" hoping to avoid dragging the country into another disastrous foreign war. Lewis Lee Millett Enlisted Into the National Guard While Still in High School Even when Nazi German invaded Poland in 1939 and began conquering and controlling much of...

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Lt Tom Ewell, US Navy (1942-1945)

Lt Tom Ewell, US Navy (1942-1945)

Tom Ewell, of the United States Navy between 1942 and 1945, interrupted a successful career as a stage actor in order to protect the merchant shipping vital to the country’s war effort as part of the US Navy Armed Guard. Born Samuel Yewell Tompkins in Kentucky during the year 1909, he was expected to join the family professions (either law or tobacco and whiskey dealing) but instead pursued acting. In 1928, he began acting in summer stock while attending the University of Wisconsin. Determined...

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Maj Clark Gable, US Air Force (1942-1947)

Maj Clark Gable, US Air Force (1942-1947)

Clark Gable, of the US Army Air Force between 1942 and 1947, is best known as the ‘King of Hollywood’, the womanizing man’s man with a filmography of over 60 productions. However, he had a passion for flying combat missions and defied death in World War II. Born William Clark Gable in 1901, his father Will was an oil-well driller living in Cadiz, Ohio. Baptized Catholic, his mother Adeline died when he was just ten months old, and his father refused to raise him in the faith. Gable’s father...

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Maj Richard Ira “Dick” Bong, USAAF (1941–1945)

Maj Richard Ira “Dick” Bong, USAAF (1941–1945)

Richard Ira "Dick" Bong, was born September 24, 1920, in St. Mary's hospital in Superior, Wisconsin. He was the first of nine children born to Carl T. Bong and Dora Bryce Bong, living on a farm near the small town of Poplar, Wisconsin, about 20 miles southeast of Superior. Dick's father came to the United States from Sweden at the age of seven, and his mother was of Scots-English descent. Dick grew up on the family farm and attended the Poplar Grade School. He then attended the Poplar High...

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