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The Unsung Heroes of World War II

The Army Air Force's (AAF) critical role in World War II is celebrated and studied over and over again through best-selling books, award-winning movies and highly-accredited learning institutions around the United States. There are truly some amazing stories of heroism about AAF fighter and bomber pilots and the men who commanded those types of units. In fact, it is rare to hear about anything but great pilots and great leaders on the subject of the AAF in World War II. One great AAF leader, H.H. Arnold, understood that it takes a lot more than airplane pilots and great leadership to achieve air superiority. He said, "An Air Force is a balanced compound of three essential ingredients, airplanes, combat and maintenance crews, and air bases."1 The intent of this paper is to explore a little deeper into why the AAF was successful in achieving air superiority in World War II. Specifically, the goal of this paper is to highlight the numerous experiences and contributions of some of the AAF's unsung heroes, the motivated and dedicated AAF mechanics that made the airplanes ready for flight.
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