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Tag: army

Escape and Evasion files at the National Archives

b-17

The B-17s, including this one, called the Big Yank, flew many raids from England into Europe (Roosevelt Library; ARC 195654).

Escape and evasion files are firsthand accounts of a military personnel’s escape from behind enemy lines. In World War II, thousands of U.S. troops crashed in Nazi territory and had to evade capture or escape from German prisons. The National Archives recently digitized 2,953 firsthand accounts of escape and evasion during the war.

Each account reads like a Hollywood script, and although each is a gripping tale of perseverance, there are some that stand out as truly remarkable. We here at POH have summarized and linked our 10 favorite tales, including emergency landings into soccer games, fake Nazi salutes, and Boy Scout disguises.

2nd Lt. John Dunbar – It was the Fourth of July in 1943 when Dunbar’s plane was shot out of the sky over La Pallice, France. After receiving assistance from local Frenchmen in the German-occupied territory he marched for 18 days through France dressed as a peasant. For five of those days he had no food. For the rest, he survived off beer and scraps of food that had fallen off carts along the road. Three weeks later he crossed the Pyrenees mountains on foot into Spain, where he was captured by the Guardia Civil and later released.

Sgt. William Davidson was taken … [ Read all ]

1924 round-the-world fliers complete their mission

The proposed route for the Army's 1924 Round-the-World Flight. (342-FH-3B-7965011279AS)

The proposed route for the Army's 1924 Round-the-World Flight. (342-FH-3B-7965011279AS)

At 1:28 p.m. on September 28, 1924, two planes landing in Seattle made history. The Chicago and New Orleans had flown 26,345 miles in 66 days to become the first airplanes to circumnavigate the globe. Four planes had started the journey on April 6, but the Seattle and Boston had been forced down over Alaska and the Atlantic, respectively.

Read the story of this amazing flight and the intrepid pilots in “Magellans of the Air” (Summer 2010 issue of Prologue). On our YouTube channel, you can listen to author Rob Crotty talk about this feat in a short video or watch original footage of the 1924 flight (54-minutes).… [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Handlebar mustaches are not authorized

general-poe

Gen. Orlando M. Poe (ca. 1860-1865), ARC Identifier 528778

In the U.S. Army of 2010, the regulations state that mustaches are limited to men, and the length and shape of the mustache itself is severely limited:

“Mustaches are permitted; if worn, males will keep mustaches neatly trimmed, tapered, and tidy. Mustaches will not present a chopped off or bushy appearance, and no portion of the mustache will cover the upper lip line or extend sideways beyond a vertical line drawn upward from the corners of the mouth. Handlebar mustaches, goatees, and beards are not authorized. …they are not authorized to shape the growth into goatees, or ‘Fu Manchu’ or handlebar mustaches.”

Despite their ranks as generals, these two Civil War soldiers would not meet the stringent policies of today’s Army regarding mustaches. General Poe has a goatee; and while it is not a “Fu Manchu,” Blunt appears to be sporting a soul patch.

Only 150 years later, these mustaches are not only unfashionable, but they are even outlawed. What could have caused such a change in military mustache policy?

Gen. James Blunt (ca. 1860-1865), ARC Identifier 529289

Gen. James Blunt (ca. 1860-1865), ARC Identifier 529289

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Private Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth's World War I draft card (Records of the Selective Service System)

Babe Ruth's World War I draft card (Records of the Selective Service System)

George Herman “Babe” Ruth was no exception to the military draft that took place during World War I, but as fate would have it, the Great Bambino’s number was never called.

Still, “Babe” Ruth managed to serve his country. Eighty-six years ago this month, the Sultan of Swat traded out his swing for a salute and enlisted in the 104th Field Artillery Division of the New York Army National Guard before a huge crowd in Times Square. Not only did he join the ranks of the military, but he also joined a growing group of veteran celebrities including Jimi Hendrix, Joe Louis, and Jack Kerouac.

75 years ago today the Great Bambino hit his 714th (and final) home run.

Private Ruth renders General Pershing a smart salute (Library of Congress)

Private Ruth renders General Pershing a smart salute (Library of Congress)

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