PROFILES IN COURAGE – Posts

Documentary – The B-25 Mitchell bomber

Courtesy of Weapon Documentaries channel

Published on Jun 23, 2015

The B-25 bomber is widely regarded as the most versatile plane of WWII. In this hour, host Steve Thomas uncovers the story of the crucial roles the B-25 played during the war. He watches close up as several B-25s are being restored today, meets six veterans who flew them in intense combat–including during the legendary Doolittle Raid–and experiences the thrill of flying in one of the greatest warplanes ever built.

WWII Fighter/Bomber Martin B 26 Marauder

History and development of the B-26. Its advanced design was “too hot to handle” for many pilots, there were many crashes, and fatalities.  It became known as ‘The Widow Maker’ and had other derisive names given to it.  It went on to become one of the most potent and effective bombers of WW II.

Robin Olds “triple ace” WW II / Vietnam

Video from the Past [37] – Robin Olds  1922 – 2007

From Chuck Owl YouTube channel

DISCLAIMER: This interview was taken from the “Timeless Voices” series available on the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association).

Robin Olds was an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was a “triple ace”, with a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. He retired in 1973 as a brigadier general.

The son of regular Army Maj. Gen. Robert Olds, educated at West Point, and the product of an upbringing in the early years of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Olds epitomized the youthful World War II fighter pilot.  He remained in the service as it became the United States Air Force, despite often being at odds with its leadership, and was one of its pioneer jet pilots.  Rising to the command of two fighter wings, Olds is regarded among aviation historians, and his peers, as the best wing commander of the Vietnam War, for both his air-fighting skills, and his reputation as a combat leader.

Robin Olds flew the P-38 Lightning and the P-51 Mustang, but the highlight of his career was the Vietnam War.  He planned a mission designed to draw the North Vietnamese Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s into an aerial trap, and the now famous “Operation Bolo” resulted.  The mission was planned in response to North Vietnamese tactics during the Operation Rolling Thunder aerial-bombardment campaign wherein MiGs were used to attack heavily loaded fighter-bombers while circumventing their fighter escorts.  The mission featured fighter planes following the typical flight paths of bombers in order to lure enemy aircraft into attacking.  Bolo** pitted the F-4 Phantom II multirole fighter against its rival, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 interceptor, and was considered to be one of the most successful combat ruses of all time, eventually prompting VPAF pilots and strategists, as well as Soviet tacticians, to re-evaluate the tactics and deployment of the MiG-21.

Olds was promoted to brigadier general after returning from Vietnam but did not hold another major command.  The remainder of his career was spent in non-operational positions, as Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy and as an official in the Air Force Inspector General’s Office. His inability to rise higher as a general officer is attributed to both his maverick views and his penchant for drinking.

Olds had a highly publicized career and life, including marriage to Hollywood actress Ella Raines.  As a young man he was also recognized for his athletic prowess in both high school and college, being named an All American for his play as a lineman in American football. Olds expressed his philosophy regarding fighter pilots in the quote: “There are pilots and there are pilots; with the good ones, it is inborn.  You can’t teach it. If you are a fighter pilot, you have to be willing to take risks.”

** OPERATION BOLO

No. 75 Squadron’s Defence of Port Moresby

Courtesy of Chuck Owl‘s YT channel

Published on Feb 20, 2015

Video from the Past [13] – No. 75 Squadron’s Defence of Port Moresby

The Battle of Port Moresby was an aerial battle fought between aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), United States Army Air Force (USAAF) and aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy between 3 February 1942 and 17 August 1943 over Port Moresby, Papua. At the start, the defenders consisted only of Australian Army anti-aircraft batteries and machine-guns but by late March had been strengthed by the arrival of Kittyhawk fighters from No. 75 Squadron RAAF, lead by John Jackson. However, in just nine days they lost 11 aircraft and only the arrival of replacements enabled the unit to maintain ten serviceable machines.

On 31 March, the Australians were joined by the American 8th Bombardment Squadron with A-24 bombers and for two weeks in May by six P-39 Airacobras of the American 36th Pursuit Squadron. Despite the American assistance, the daily air battles over and around Port Moresby by 1 May had reduced 75 Squadron to just three airworthy machines. The American 35th, and the full 36th, Pursuit Squadrons arrived to relieve the Australian squadron. During their time in Port Moresby 75 Squadron had lost 21 aircraft and 12 pilots. However , they had shot down four times as many enemy aircraft and delayed the japanese invasion for just long enough for the american fleet to turn the tide in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway.

It is interesting to know that Saburo Sakai, the most famous japanese ace in history, participated in the battle and spoke highly of the defence put up by the Australians.

Chaos, confusion, and courage – The Airborne at Normandy

Courtesy of CVL23USSPRINCETON Channel.  Published on Feb 27, 2013

This video combines graphics from the video game BROTHERS IN ARMS with personal testimony of surviving vets from the 502nd,101st, and other elements of paratroops dropped on the Carentan Peninsula on D Day.  While there has been many accounts of those hours and days after the initial invasion, this brings home the intensity of battle, and cost in lives these men suffered.  Much in contrast to Bloody Omaha, the landings at Utah had few casualties due to the actions and sacrifice of Airborne troops.

“Screaming Eagles” – The 101st Airborne Division [Documentary]

Courtesy of MAHARBAL5022 Channel

A comprehensive history of the 101st Airborne Division; the Screaming Eagles.  Encompassing WWII, Vietnam, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm. They were not a combat organization during the Korean War, and never served in Korea.

Video chapters:

Start Overview/Training   04:07 “A rendezvous with destiny”

08:24 Jump into Carentan Peninsula at Normandy   24:16 Operation Market Garden

30:30 The Bulge  36:33 “Aw, Nuts”   49:20 Vietnam   1:10:49 Desert Storm

US 101st Airborne Division patch.svgThe Story of “Old Abe”

Insignia of the 101st Airborne Division

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