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  • Epilogue: Sacrifice and Victory

    Starting with only a theory and a handful of aircraft, the USAAF faced early setbacks and devastating losses.  Still, heavy bomber crews time and time again resolutely fought through enemy defenses to hit their targets.  With their courage and sacrifice, the USAAF created a massive, unstoppable bomber force that crippled the enemy and played a
  • Early Operations: Ninth/Twelfth Air Force in the Mediterranean

    Until mid-1943, the USAAF’s small heavy bomber force in the Mediterranean primarily attacked enemy ports, airfields, and ships to help defeat enemy ground forces in North Africa and prepare for the invasion of Sicily.  Twelfth Air Force B-17 All-American was rammed by a German fighter while bombing enemy supply lines in North Africa.  Remarkably,
  • Early Operations: Eighth Air Force in England

    In 1942 and early 1943, while the British Royal Air Force (RAF) conducted saturation bombing at night, the USAAF was trying to prove the validity of daytime precision bombing with its small bomber force in England.  For the first year, Eighth Air Force heavy bombers attacked submarine bases and production facilities, along with industrial and
  • Enabling Technologies

    Advanced USAAF technology made the daylight strategic bombing campaign possible.  Key technologies included four-engine bombers, turbosuperchargers, and the Norden bombsight.  Four-Engine Bombers: B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator Four-engine B-17s and B-24s provided the range, payload, defensive armament, and altitude the USAAF required for
  • Eddie V. Rickenbacker WWI Diary

    Note: This item is currently in storageIn commemoration of the Centennial of World War I, the National Museum of the United States Air Force will regularly post excerpts from Capt Edward V. Rickenbacker's 1918 wartime diary.  These begin with Saturday, March 2, 1918, the date Rickenbacker began capturing his experiences in France.Click here to
  • Edward V. Rickenbacker- AEF Chauffeur

    Note: This item is currently in storage Although he was recruited to serve as General Pershing’s chauffeur, Rickenbacker primarily drove for Major Townsend F. Dodd, a subordinate to Lt Col William B. Mitchell.  As Mitchell and Dodd toured various regions in France, the effect of airpower began to emerge, and made a lasting impression on the three
  • Eddie Rickenbacker-Race Car Driver

    On October 8, 1890, Edward Rickenbacker was born in a small house on South Pearl Street in Columbus, Ohio.  The second son of Swiss immigrants, Eddie’s family fell on particularly hard times following the death of his father when Eddie was just 13 years old.  Eddie left school during the 7th grade, and worked at various jobs throughout Columbus
  • Eddie Rickenbacker Ring, Ace of Aces

    Note: This item is currently in storage. This ring reads “A OF A.”  Captain E.V. Rickenbacker was called America’s Ace of Aces, due to his accruing the highest number of American aerial victories against the Germans during World War I— 26.   This ring is also engraved with the following designs:  Both sides have the Hat-in-the-Ring emblem of the
  • Excelsior Gondola

    Project Excelsior successfully tested parachutes to be used for escaping from aircraft at extremely high altitudes. U.S. Air Force Capt. Joseph Kittinger made three jumps from a balloon gondola in 1959-1960, the highest one from a record height of over 102,000 feet.As aircraft like the X-15 began to reach the limits of the upper atmosphere, new
  • Eddie Rickenbacker Dog Tag

    Note: This item is currently in storage.Commander of the "Hat-in-Ring" 94th Aero Squadron, Capt. Edward V. Rickenbacker was a World War I American fighter ace. He had the most aerial victories of all American fighter pilots during the war with 26. He also is a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor (received in 1931), Distinguished Flying
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