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Maj. Clark Gable

A relaxing Maj. Clark Gable following his return from a combat mission over Nazi Europe in 1943. On his left is Lt. Col. Robert W. Burns, who retired from the USAF as a Major General in 1970. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A relaxing Maj. Clark Gable following his return from a combat mission over Nazi Europe in 1943. On his left is Lt. Col. Robert W. Burns, who retired from the USAF as a Major General in 1970. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Although he was beyond the draft age at the time the U.S. entered World War II, Clark Gable enlisted as a private in the AAF on Aug. 12, 1942, at Los Angeles. He attended the Officers' Candidate School at Miami Beach, Fla., and graduated as a second lieutenant on Oct. 28, 1942. He then attended aerial gunnery school, and in February 1943, on personal orders from Gen. Hap Arnold, he went to England to make a motion picture of aerial gunners in action.

He was assigned to the 351st Bomb Group at Polebrook and although neither ordered nor expected to do so, flew operational missions over Europe in B-17s to obtain the combat film footage he believed was required for producing the movie, titled "Combat America."

Gable returned to the U.S. in October 1943 and was relieved from active duty as a major on June 12, 1944, at his own request, since he was over-age for combat. Because his motion picture production schedule made it impossible for him to fulfill his AAF Reserve officer duties, he resigned his commission on Sept. 26, 1947. He passed away on Nov. 16, 1960.

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