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WWII Brazilian Air Force Aircrews

DAYTON, Ohio - The Brazilian FAB aircrews portion of the WWII: Airmen in a World at War exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Brazilian FAB aircrews portion of the WWII: Airmen in a World at War exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Artifacts from the Brazilian FAB aircrews portion of the WWII: Airmen in a World at War exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Artifacts from the Brazilian FAB aircrews portion of the WWII: Airmen in a World at War exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Artifact from the Brazilian FAB aircrews portion of the WWII: Airmen in a World at War exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Artifact from the Brazilian FAB aircrews portion of the WWII: Airmen in a World at War exhibit in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

1º GAC P-47s carried the "Senta a Pua!" emblem as nose art along with the national insignia of Brazil. (U.S. Air Force photo)

1º GAC P-47s carried the "Senta a Pua!" emblem as nose art along with the national insignia of Brazil. (U.S. Air Force photo)

1º GAC pilots wore their distinctive white caps when they were not flying. (U.S. Air Force photo)

1º GAC pilots wore their distinctive white caps when they were not flying. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Brazil entered the war on Aug. 22, 1942, after German submarines sank several of its merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean. Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) aircrews had already begun training with U.S. personnel and conducting antisubmarine flights off the coast of Brazil. By the end of 1944, this important mission was the sole responsibility of FAB aircrews flying U.S.-supplied aircraft. 

From the fall of 1944 to the end of the war, an all-volunteer group of 48 Brazilian fighter pilots flew as a squadron attached to the U.S. Army Air Forces' 350th Fighter Group, 12th Air Force, in Italy. Designated the 1º Grupo de Aviação de Caça (1º GAC), these P-47 Thunderbolt pilots amassed an impressive combat record that included the destruction of over 1,300 motor vehicles, 250 railway cars, and 25 bridges. 

Força Aérea Brasileira Officer's Service Uniform
This Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) officer's service uniform represents a first lieutenant in Italy. 

Força Aérea Brasileira Flying Uniform
Brazilian pilots in Italy wore the same U.S.-issued flying clothing and equipment as their USAAF counterparts. Even so, their patches and distinctive white caps readily identified them as members of the 1º GAC.

Senta a Pύa Emblem
Senta a Pύa!
loosely translated means "fight with a spur," which is a phrase derived from rooster fighting. This expression became the war cry of the 1º GAC and it was incorporated into their unit emblem. This emblem was worn as a patch on their flight suits and also painted on their P-47s.

Click here to return to the Airmen in a World at War Overview.

 

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