air corps

Today in Black History for February 19th

2002 - Vonetta Flowers

Vonetta Flowers became the first black gold medalist in the history of the Winter Olympic Games. She and partner Jill Brakken won the inagural women’s two-person bobsled event.


1996 - Singer Dorothy Maynor dies

Concert singer Dorothy Maynor dies (1910-1996)


1992 - John Singleton, Director

John Singleton,the first African American director to be nominated for the Academy Award is nominated for best director and best screenplay for his first film Boyz N the Hood.


1942 - Tuskegee Airmen initiated

The Army Air Corps’ all African American 100th Pursuit Squadron, later designated a fighter squadron, was activated at Tuskegee Institute. The squadron served honorably in England and in other regions of the European continent during World War II.


1940 - Smokey Robinson born

Soul singer William “Smokey” Robinson born in Detroit, Michigan. Robinson’s first singing group was the Miracles which he formed in 1955 while still in high school. The group’s first success came in 1960 with the hit, “Shop Around.”


1919 - Pan-African Congress Meeting

Pan-African Congress, organized by W.E.B. Du Bois, met a Grand Hotel, Paris. There were fifty-seven delegates sixteen from the United States and fourteen from Africa form sixteen countries and colonies. Blaise Diagne of Senegal was elected president and Du Bois was named secretary.

It’s good to be back and I’m grateful to serve alongside you as Secretary of Defense.

Together with the Intelligence Community we are the sentinels and guardians of our nation. We need only look to you, the uniformed and civilian members of the Department and your families, to see the fundamental unity of our country. You represent an America committed to the common good; an America that is never complacent about defending its freedoms; and an America that remains a steady beacon of hope for all mankind.

Every action we take will be designed to ensure our military is ready to fight today and in the future. Recognizing that no nation is secure without friends, we will work with the State Department to strengthen our alliances. Further, we are devoted to gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense, thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people.

I am confident you will do your part. I pledge to you I’ll do my best as your Secretary.

—  A message from the Secretary of Defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis

The B-17 Swamp Ghost – Found After 68 Years In the Jungle

On Feb. 23, 1942, a B-17E Flying Fortress bomber crashed in one of the most remote and wild places on Earth: the primitive Agaimbo swamp located on the island of Papua New Guinea.

The plane, piloted by young U.S. Army Air Corps Captain Fred Eaton, had flown a long, dangerous mission from Australia against the Japanese Fortress at Rabaul in New Britain. This was the first long-range Allied bombing mission of World War II following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor that included the U.S.

The crew survived their ordeal and, after a six-week trek to safety, returned to combat. Their B-17E, however, remained forgotten in the swamp until it was rediscovered in 1972 by an Australian Air Force crew.

In the mid-1980s, the late World War II pilot, restaurant industry pioneer and antique aircraft collector David Tallichet initiated efforts to recover and return the plane to U.S. soil. His dream was fulfilled in 2010 through the joint efforts of his family and aircraft salvage enthusiast Alfred Hagen.

Nicknamed Swamp Ghost, the B-17E has become an icon of military aviation. In tribute to its intact state, romantic isolation and the extreme challenges involved in its salvage, it is known among historians as military aviation’s Holy Grail.

Coincidentally, the B-17E was assigned to the Kangaroo Squadron, which flew into Pearl Harbor from San Francisco during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. This occurrence contributed to the disaster because U.S. Oahu radar personnel assumed the incoming Japanese attack wave represented the squadron’s expected arrival. Swamp Ghost was not with the squadron on that fateful day, but flew in shortly after the attack.

Before its salvage, Swamp Ghost was considered the best-preserved unrecovered B-17E in the world. With its return to the Port of Long Beach, Swamp Ghost completed its final mission 68 years after take-off. Only four aircraft models of its type have ever been recovered. The aircraft will be restored, possibly to flying condition, for display at an aviation museum as a symbol of America’s military aviation heritage.

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James Stewart was the first Hollywood star to enlist in the military when he was inducted into the Army in March 1942. Due to having a commercial pilots license, he was accepted into the Army Air Corps (the US Air Force did not yet exist). As a bomber squadron commander, he flew numerous combat missions over Germany and was promoted to colonel by the war’s end in 1945. For his bravery and the success of his missions, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and from the French Government the Croix de Guerre with Palm.

After taking some time off, he returned to Hollywood to make It’s a Wonderful Life in 1946.

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“Everybody’s been doing this job for a long time, there’s really no reason for me to tell them what to do. It’s fast paced, it’s aggressive, it’s not something you could be timid at.”

Curtiss P-40E Tomahawk

P-40 Warhawk was the name used by the United States Army Air Corps and after June 1941, USAAF-adopted name for all models, making it the official name in the United States for all P-40s.