By early 1941, World War II was on Americas' doorstep. Through lend lease we were already providing supplies and material to Britain and China. Many young men were flying for the Flying Tigers of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) and the Eagle Squadron of the British RAF; and at the end of the year, on that fateful day of December 7, 1941, it would become official. We were at war.
The Army Air Forces / Army Air Corps knew what was coming. Needs had been assessed and early production had begun on many new aircraft such as the P-40, P-38, P-39, B-24, B-17 and B-25. But America was not fully prepared as evidenced by early models of these and many other aircraft that did not perform as needed against the enemy. It would take into 1943 before improved versions of aircraft and tactics changed to shift the tide in the Air. It also took this time for the factories to shift their output from consumer products to war materiel and then to produce these new items in massive quantities.
In the end, the US factories out-produced the enemy; manufacturing staggering large numbers of aircraft, equipment and munitions. But it was the men who flew, maintained and supported these aircraft that took the fight to the enemy. They cleared the skies, destroyed enemy aircraft and production facilities that severly hampered the Axis' ability to wage war.
We shall always remember the contributions of the men of the Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces.
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