Browsing: History

Reviewing history in the military, the Air Force and triumphs and misadventures in airpower. On Aug. 6, 1945, during World War II, an American B-29 bomber dubbed “Enola Gay” dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb, nicknamed the “Little Boy,” over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing approximately 110,000 Japanese citizens. Three days later, the U.S. dropped the second atom bomb on Japan, at Nagasaki, leading to Japan’s surrender in WWII. The U.S. had originally planned to drop the bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” on Nagasaki on Aug.11, five days after the first was dropped on Hiroshima, but weather forced crews…

You can track every bomb that the U.S. dropped in World War I, World War II and Vietnam now that part of an Air Force database is accessible to the general public. The Theater History of Operations Reports, or THOR, details about 15 million American and allied aircraft sorties, according to the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Records from the Korean War are currently being digitized and added to the site. THOR allows you to see not only a list of airstrikes, but also to plot the bombing raids on Google Earth and see videos of the…

Air Force Day was established on August 1, 1947, by President Truman “in recognition of the personnel of the victorious Army Air Forces and all those who have developed and maintained our nation’s air strength.” August 1 was chosen to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment, in 1907, of the Aeronautical Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the Army. Thanks to USA Today for giving the Air Force a shout out on their Vine. “It’s U.S. Air Force Day! Thanks to those who serve.”

Taking our “Here’s Why” from the paper to the blog. An explanation for why something is the way it is in the Air Force/military. “Quit being such a basket case.” “Keep it together, you’re being a basket case.” Whenever you’re having a moment where you just lose it, the phrase “basket case” is sure to follow. Surprisingly, its origin stems from the military, and was never intended to define a crazy moment. So where did it come from? According to Judy Parkinson, author of “Spilling the Beans on the Cat’s Pajamas,” the derogatory slang term normally used to describe a…

If you’re a fan of the 1983 film “The Right Stuff” — and I suspect more than a few of you are — you’ve got a treat coming this fall. Warner Bros. is releasing the classic film on high definition Blu Ray Nov. 5 to mark its 30th anniversary. “The Right Stuff,” which was adapted from Tom Wolfe’s equally terrific book, chronicles the birth of the American space program. But for my money, the early scenes that explore the high-risk, often-fatal lives of test pilots at Edwards Air Force Base during the 1950s are just as compelling as the story…

Reviewing history in the military, the Air Force and triumphs and misadventures in airpower. On the night of July 24, 1943, over 750 Royal Air Force bombers descended on Hamburg, Germany. “Operation Gomorrah” became a mission for the RAF by night, the Americans by day, which we called “Blitz Week.” The goal? The series of raids were tasked to gain air superiority, cripple German industrial production and to inflict severe material damage on what Air Chief Marshal Arthur T. Harris called the “second city of the Reich.” According to Air Force Magazine, Harris’s Bomber Command “threw 2,355 sorties at Hamburg…

Family members of the crew flying on a C-124 Globemaster II that crashed Nov. 22, 1952, may finally be getting some answers. The shifting of an Alaskan glacier that unearthed some wreckage and frozen remains from the cargo plane that crashed near Mount Gannett, Alaska has given Alaskan Command and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) more evidence to work with. According to ABC News, additional layers of the glacier melted away this winter, yielding more possibilities of finding remains. JPAC returned to Alaska last month to continue the investigation said Lee Tucker, a JPAC spokesperson. JPAC concluded its investigation…

Taking our “Here’s Why” from the paper to the blog. An explanation for why something is the way it is in the Air Force/military. As the 460th Space Wing at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., said farewell to Col. Dan Dant and welcomed Col. Daniel Wright III as the new commander, the military tradition of “pass in review” was upheld during the ceremony. What is this and where does it come from? Senior Airman Marcy Glass writes that the tradition of “pass in review” has roots that date back to Alexander the Great. He would walk the lines inspecting his…

Reviewing history in the military, the Air Force and triumphs and misadventures in airpower. On July 8, 1948, the Air Force accepted the first woman into its ranks. Staff Sgt. Ester McGowin Blake enlisted on the first day women were permitted to join the service — 65 years ago today, Smithsonian Magazine writes. In March 1944, Blake enlisted in the Army Air Forces, where she served one year. A widow with two sons fighting in World War II, Blake joined after her eldest, a B-17 pilot, was shot down over Belgium and reported missing. She reportedly wanted to free up…

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