World War II

The True Story of The Great Escape

The True Story of The Great Escape

More than likely, many of us have seen the 1963 American World War II epic film "The Great Escape" based on a real escape by British Commonwealth prisoners of war from a German POW Camp during World War II, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Sir Richard Attenborough. The film is based on Paul Brickhill's 1950 book of the same name, a non-fiction first-hand account of the real mass escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Zagan, Poland), in the province of Lower Silesia, Nazi Germany....

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The Amazing History of the USS Barb (SS 220)

The Amazing History of the USS Barb (SS 220)

When it comes to submarine action during World War II, there are a number of standouts, and among them is the submarine USS Barb (SS 220). But what makes USS Barb unique? No other submarine can boast a train on its battle flag. One of the Submarine's Main Characters There can't be a story about USS Barb without mentioning one of the submarine's main characters: commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. Eugene B. Fluckey. The Washington, D.C.-native was to Barb as chocolate is to peanut butter. While there...

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Capt. David McCampbell, U.S. Navy (1933-1964)

Capt. David McCampbell, U.S. Navy (1933-1964)

All available fighter pilots! Man your planes!" boomed the squawk box in Essex' ready room. The ship's radar had detected three large groups of Japanese planes coming in. David McCampbell, the CAG, and the Navy's most famous aviator considered this announcement. Earlier that morning, Admiral Sherman himself had forbidden McCampbell from joining a dawn sortie. Given his responsibilities as Commander of Essex' Air Group and his public prominence as a top ace, McCampbell was too valuable. He...

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Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

On June 6, 1944, Werner T. Angress parachuted down from a C-47 into German-occupied France with the 82nd Airborne Division. Nine days later, he was captured behind enemy lines and, concealing his identity as a German-born Jew, became a prisoner of war. Eventually, he was freed by US forces, rejoined the fight, crossed Europe as a battlefield interrogator, and participated in a concentration camp's liberation. Although he was an American soldier, less than ten years before, he had been an...

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Famous Army Air Force Units – 336th Fighter Squadron

Famous Army Air Force Units – 336th Fighter Squadron

The annals of Air Force history are rich with the performance and accomplishments of individual units, but often reflect specific battles, a conflict, or other such moments in time. Due to ever-changing budgets, technology, restructuring, and more, tenure alone is a barrier to the creation of longstanding unit heritage and tradition. Nonetheless, select organizations can trace a significant lineage with associated individual and group exploits. Perhaps not well known to other than their sister...

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A Pilot’s Story from Tennessee Eagle Scouts to General Montgomery’s Flying Fortress by Richard Eager

A Pilot’s Story from Tennessee Eagle Scouts to General Montgomery’s Flying Fortress by Richard Eager

Some say the decades between 1930 and 1970 were the golden age of aviation. For many pilots, this was certainly the case. Aviation technology took a great leap forward during and after World War II. Pilots began testing the limits of their craft, from altitude to the sound barrier. Most importantly, the years saw the creation of the U.S. Air Force as an independent military branch.  About the Author of A Pilot's Story from Tennessee Eagle Scouts Starting from a must-win air war like World...

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The First Purple Hearts

The First Purple Hearts

It might come as a surprise to many, but the United States did not offer its troops medals or ribbons as uniform decorations until the Medal of Honor was introduced by President Lincoln during the Civil War. It was only offered to enlisted troops in July 1862, but by December, it was made available to officers who displayed exceptional gallantry.  Until that point in U.S. military history, military medals were more of a European tradition. Medals and ribbons were seen as a custom...

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Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, U.S. Marine Corps (1934-45)

Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, U.S. Marine Corps (1934-45)

Today's United States Marines have many idols. Unsurprisingly, these are often other Marines, Marines who served in wars past but distinguished themselves and exemplified what it means to call oneself a United States Marine. Few of these idols loom as large as Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone.  Basilone was born to an Italian family in Upstate New York and raised in New Jersey. He was working as a golf caddy when he decided to join the Army in 1934. It was, of course, years before the United...

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Famous Air Force Units – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

Famous Air Force Units – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

To those not deeply immersed in US Air Force operations, the 6th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) may appear a bit of an enigma as Commando is most often associated with ground units. The squadron's title actually derives from roots reaching back to WWII together with hard-fought experience, all leading to a mission that's responsive to contemporary, global needs. Constituted initially as a fighter squadron, the 6th SOS acquired broad skills extending through Vietnam and beyond, keying...

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PFC Hugh Hefner, U.S. Army (1944-1946)

PFC Hugh Hefner, U.S. Army (1944-1946)

It's well-known that the late Hugh Hefner was the founder of one of history's most iconic global brands. He transformed the adult entertainment industry with his groundbreaking publication Playboy. Less widely reported, however, is his contribution to the war effort during World War II. Just seven years before he created Playboy magazine from his kitchen table, Hefner joined the Army, serving as an infantry clerk and drawing cartoons for various military newspapers.  Hugh Hefner's Early Years...

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The Passing Of “Rosie The Riveter”

The Passing Of “Rosie The Riveter”

Rosalind P. (Palmer) Walter passed away at the age of 95. She is known to millions as the original inspiration for the "Rosie the Riveter" character. She is appreciated by many for her years of service and support for public broadcasting. Rosalind P. Walter's Early Life Walter grew up in a wealthy family in Long Island. Her father was Carleton Palmer, who was president and chairman of E.R. Squibb and Sons (which is now part of Bristol Myers Squibb). Squibb and sons sold penicillin, which was...

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Donovan: America’s Master Spy by Richard B. Dunlop

Donovan: America’s Master Spy by Richard B. Dunlop

One of the most celebrated and highly decorated heroes of World War I, a noted trial lawyer, presidential adviser and emissary, and Chief of America’s Office of Strategic Services during World War II, William J. Donovan was a legendary figure. Donovan, originally published in 1982, penetrates the cloak of secrecy surrounding this remarkable man. During the dark days of World War II, "Wild Bill" Donovan, more than any other person, was responsible for what William Stevenson, author of "A Man...

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