Snoopy and the Red Baron

In 1965, Charles Schulz published a Peanuts comic strip that would become one of Snoopy’s most famous daydreams. In the comic, he acts the part of a fighter pilot, complete with his Sopwith Camel dog house. His mission: hunt down the Red Baron. Snoopy would conjure many more imaginary battles with his nemesis over the…

The Real Immelmann

If you know anything about flying, you’ve probably heard of the Immelmann. This air-show aerobatic maneuver starts with the aircraft performing a climbing half-loop followed by a half-roll, resulting in level flight in the exact opposite direction at a higher altitude. The Immelmann is actually named after the first German ace, a World War I…

Lafayette Escadrille, America’s First Combat Airmen

As World War I spread across Europe, the US remained reluctant to enter the conflict and remained so for almost three years. During this time, some Americans thought the US had a duty to enter the war and wanted to take a more active role. Several patriotic Americans volunteered to drive ambulances for the French…

Jerimiah Weed: The Truth of the Legend

The story of how shots of Jeremiah Weed came to be a fighter pilot tradition has been told many times, with more versions than you can imagine. And that is why its time to retell it. There are two things I really like about this story. First, unlike many traditions, it didn’t happen in any…

A Nickel on the Grass: The Real Story

Greek mythology states that the ferryman of Hades, Charon, requires payment of one coin to ferry a soul across the River Styx that separates the worlds of the living and the dead. Coins were typically placed in the mouths of loved ones before burial to ensure safe passage to the underworld. Over time this has…

Roll Call and the Squadron Bar

  “HACK!” yells the Mayor at the start of every Roll Call. You’d better not be late, and if you can’t make it you’d better have already checked in. Every fighter squadron in the Air Force has a bar located within its confines, it’s renaming as a “heritage room” is inconsequential as it still serves…

If WWI were a Bar Fight

Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of a pub when Serbia bumps into Austria and spills Austria’s pint. Austria demands Serbia buy it a complete new suit because there are splashes on its trouser leg. Germany expresses its support for Austria’s point of view. Britain recommends that everyone calm down a…