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  • Bombing Campaign Leaders

    Three iconic USAAF generals—Carl Spaatz, Ira Eaker, and James “Jimmy” Doolittle—played key roles in leading the strategic bombing campaign in Europe. Gen. Carl Spaatz decorates a wounded Eighth Air Force Airman while he recovers in a hospital in August 1944.Carl A. SpaatzAfter leading the Eighth Air

  • Bigger Raids, Bigger Losses and Crisis

    In the second half of 1943, the USAAF continued to build up its heavy bomber forces.  As it hit targets ever deeper in enemy territory, however, staggering losses threatened the entire concept of daylight strategic bombing.Early assumptions were wrong—unescorted heavy bombers could not protect

  • Bomber Crew Protection

    A 1942 study determined that relatively low velocity projectiles such as deflected flak fragments or shattered pieces of aircraft structure caused 70% of bomber crew wounds.  Body armor and helmets helped protect against this threat and saved thousands of bomber crewmen from injury or death.  Col

  • Black Thursday: Schweinfurt, October 14, 1943

    The Eighth Air Force attack against the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt, Germany, on October 14, 1943, became known as "Black Thursday.”   After friendly fighters turned back at the German border, the bomber formations fought a running battle alone against the Luftwaffe.  The bomber crews

  • Blind Bombing: “Mickey”

    During the frequently cloudy conditions over Europe, USAAF bombers could not bomb visually.  In these conditions, USAAF heavy bombers used a radar system called H2X and code-named “Mickey.”   Mickey-equipped “pathfinder” aircraft gave formations the signal to bomb.  On B-24 pathfinders, the H2X

  • Boeing Inertial Upper Stage Space Payload Booster

    Note: This item is currently in storage.The Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) is an unpiloted upper-stage booster rocket used from 1982-2004. After launch on an unmanned rocket or inside a space shuttle, the IUS boosted its payload into a higher orbit or sent planetary and solar probes on their way through

  • Boeing X-40A

    The unmanned, unpowered Boeing X-40A was the first-phase flight test vehicle for the U.S. Air Force’s Space Maneuver Vehicle program that began in the late 1990s. The program aimed to develop small, reusable, highly maneuverable spacecraft for deploying satellites and conducting surveillance and

  • Brig. Gen. James M. Stewart

    On March 22, 1941, Jimmy Stewart was drafted into the U.S. Armed Forces. He was assigned to the Army Air Corps as an enlisted man and stationed at Moffett Field, Calif. During his nine months of training at that base, he also took extension courses with the idea of obtaining a commission. He

  • Bell X-5

    The X-5 was the world's first high-performance airplane to vary the sweepback of its wings in flight. It investigated the characteristics of variable sweep aircraft in flight and the feasibility of producing aircraft with this feature. The X-5 was based upon the design of a Messerschmitt P. 1101

  • Beech VC-6A

    In 1966 the U.S. Air Force purchased a standard Beechcraft King Air B90 with a special VIP interior, designated as the VC-6A, to support President Lyndon B. Johnson and his family. The aircraft was faster and more agile than other light transport aircraft and featured full pressurization for comfort

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