world war ii: us army air force

In honor of Memorial Day: Capt. Oliver Burgess Meredith, United States Army Air Force during World War II. Photo taken at US Army Headquarters in London, June 10th, 1943. This is a photo of Burgess before his assignment to the 8th AF. Notice his Aviation Cadet wings. 

The only fan page solely dedicated to Burgess Meredith // Lovingly ran by his grandniece in attempt to keep his legacy alive.

Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope and Bette Davis - all active in efforts to support US troops during World War II - visiting the Hollywood Hall of Honor at the Hollywood Canteen, a memorial for their colleagues who have enlisted in the US military. Davis points to a photo of Clark Gable, who was a major in the US Army Air Forces.


Photos I took during an excursion into Arlington National Cemetery and Washington D.C. on Memorial Day. I wanted to visit and photograph each of the memorials as well as take time to reflect on the sacrifice the men and women of our armed forces have made throughout the years so that we may live free. It was a successful mission. I got some good shots and had the pleasure of meeting many fellow veterans while exchanging some stories.

So, you’re at your friend’s elaborately decorated Halloween party. There are cobwebs hanging from the ceiling, bloody handprints on the wall, a frothing potion brewing on the stove. It’s creepy! And scary! But is it … spooky?

Sure, “spook” can refer to a ghost. It can refer to a spy. But as many of us know, it’s also, sometimes, a racial slur for black people. One of our Ask Code Switch readers wrote in to ask about the etiquette of using words like spook and spooky.

During this, the season of murder mysteries and haunted hayrides, is it insensitive to say that you were spooked?

So here’s the deal: Spook comes from the Dutch word for apparition, or specter. The noun was first used in English around the turn of the nineteenth century. Over the next few decades, it developed other forms, like spooky, spookish, and of course, the verb, to spook.

From there, it seems, the word lived a relatively innocuous life for many years, existing in the liminal space between surprise and mild fear.

It wasn’t until World War II that spook started to refer to black people. The black Army pilots who trained at the Tuskegee Institute were referred to as the “Spookwaffe”— waffe being the German word for weapon, or gun. (Luftwaffe was the name of the German air force).

Once the word “spook” was linked to blackness, it wasn’t long before it became a recognizable — if second-tier — slur.

This Halloween: What Does It Mean To Call Something ‘Spooky’?

Photo: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images


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.


Transgender Troops React to Trump’s Ban

Vanity Fair writes (below main article)

Jacob Eleazer (1st photo)

Rank/branch of military: Captain, Kentucky National Guard. Currently serving in the 198th Military Police Battalion as the Senior Human Resources Officer

Hometown: Lexington, KY

Proudest moment: “Being selected as T.A.C. (Teach, Assess, Counsel) officer of the year. It meant a lot to me to know that both my soldiers and command thought so well of my work, even as the Army was processing me for involuntary discharge due to being transgender.”

Biggest misconception: “That being transgender is the most important part of who we are. I am proud to be a transgender man, but when it comes down to it, I am a commissioned officer in the United States Army.”

Photo: Photograph by Jacob Roberts.

Jennifer Peace (2nd photo)

Rank/branch of military: Active Duty Army Soldier, Intelligence Officer

Hometown: Houston, TX

Proudest moment: “The day I took command of a company. It was something I had given up hope on ever doing after deciding to transition, assuming that my career would be over.”

Biggest misconception: “I think what it all comes down to is this stereotype people have of who trans people are. Once you work with someone and know someone personally, it breaks those stereotypes down.”

Photo: Photograph by Robbie McClaran.

Kristin Beck (3rd photo)

Rank/branch of military: Senior Chief, U.S. Navy SEALs

Hometown: Wellsville, NY

Proudest moment: “I saved the life of an Afghanistan man in the middle of chaos. I also saw him later on and was able to have tea with him.”

Biggest misconception: The idea that this is a new issue. “Transgender people have been serving since the Revolutionary war, and most of us don’t cost a thing.”

Photo: Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

Jennifer Long (4ht photo)

Rank/branch of military: Army Sergeant Major, retired in 2012

Hometown: Jersey City, NJ

Proudest moment: “My service in Afghanistan in 2010–2011. I was awarded the French National Defense Medal, the first American to receive that medal since World War II.”

Biggest misconception: “Expensive, complicated surgeries would make them non-deployable or [reduce their] effectiveness.”

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Logan Ireland (5ht photo)

Rank/branch of military: Active Duty Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force

Hometown: Flower Mound, TX

Proudest moment: “To be fortunate enough to see the policy change for transgender military members like myself. To see my brothers and sisters no longer have to serve in silence is a humbling experience.”

Biggest misconception: “We only want to serve in the military to have our transitions paid for. At no point is my military service about me; it’s about those who came before me.”

Photo: Photographed by Matthew Mahon.

Laila Ireland (6th photo)

Rank/branch of military: Retired Army Corporal, worked as a Health-care Management Administration Specialist

Hometown: Waipahu, HI

What is your proudest moment in the service? “Knowing that the solider was going to be able to go home to their family was and is always the most satisfying part of my career.”

What is the biggest misconception you’d like to correct? “The most common one in my opinion is that transgender people are incapable of fulfilling a duty because they are mentally unstable. In order to serve in these roles, you have to be mentally sound.”

Photo: Photograph by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

Brynn Tannehill (bottom photo)

Rank/branch of military: Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy. In the reserves until July 1, 2017

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

Proudest moment: “All the years of training and dedication came together for me in those moments where I was there for my shipmates when they needed me the most. They survived because we were there.”

Biggest misconception: “The idea that it’s too expensive to retain transgender service members is laughable to me. It costs more to replace two highly trained transgender service members than to provide health care for every last one of them.

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Even more outstanding transgender military here!

“Overhead view of the escort carrier Barnes (CVE-20) transporting Army Air Forces P-38 Lightning and P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft. During World War II, escort carriers oftentimes were employed in this role, ensuring a steady supply of aircraft for front line squadrons of all services.” July 1, 1943.

(National Naval Aviation Museum: NNAM.1996.488.032.012)

Lieutenant Edwin Wright of the 404th Fighter Group shows off the damage caused by flak to his P-47 Thunderbolt. USAAF airfield near Sint-Truiden, Belgium, October 1944.

‘Lt “Lucky” Edwin Wright, just over 19 yrs. old, just returned from his 39th mission- over Munster. He got hit by flak but continued on his mission dropped his bombs, did a spot of strafing and returned. When he got back he found a hole 8ins. in diameter through his 11ins. diameter prop blade, caused by a direct hit from an ‘ack ack’ shell. If the shell had deviated an inch and a half either side, his blade would have severed and he would have been brought down. This is the 6th time that Wright has been hit by Flak and is now known as “Lucky Wright”. He has 5 and a half months of combat to his credit and 39 missions.’ - Roger LIFE

Edwin Wright flew a total of 88 missions in P-47 Thunderbolts over Europe during WWII. He left the Army in 1946 after the war and was again called up for the Korean Conflict in 1950. He retired from the US Air Force as a Major. Edwin Wright passed away in 1959, from lung cancer, age 34.

Original: Roger Freeman Collection/American Air Museum in Europe/IWM (FRE 9553)


Women from the first all-female honor flight in the United Sates watch a Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Sept. 22, 2015, in Arlington, Va. There were 75 female veterans from World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War in attendance, as well as 75 escorts, who were also female veterans or active-duty military.

(U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/released)


The Nakajima Ki-84 “Hayate”  was a single-seat fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. The Allied reporting name was “Frank”; the Japanese Army designation was Army Type 4 Fighter. Featuring excellent performance and high maneuverability, the Ki-84 was considered to be the best Japanese fighter to see large scale operations during World War II. It was able to match any Allied fighter, and to intercept the high-flying B-29 Superfortresses. Its powerful armament (that could include two 30 mm and two 20 mm cannon) increased its lethality. Though hampered by poor production quality in later models, a high-maintenance engine, a landing gear prone to buckle, and lack of experienced pilots above all else, Hayates proved to be fearsome opponents; a total of 3,514 were buil