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World War II

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Sun, August 5 2018

Women with Wings: The 75-Year-Legacy of the WASP

Seventy-five years ago, on August 5, 1943, a remarkable group of women stepped into roles as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Their story is one of courage, and their legacy is crucial to understanding the role of women as aviators within the United States Military.

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The WASP
Wed, April 18 2018

A Curator on Configuring WWII Military Medals

Over the years I’ve spent curating the National Air and Space Museum’s uniform and flight clothing collection, I have received many inquiries. One of the most frequently ask questions concerns the placement of Lt. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle's Medal of Honor ribbon on his wartime uniform.

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Lt. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle’s Medal of Honor ribbon
Fri, April 6 2018

The British (Aircraft) Are Coming

To celebrate the RAF’s 100th anniversary, get to know a bit about these British aircraft, their owners, and what drew their pilots to flight.

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The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Avro Lancaster
Fri, March 23 2018

WWII Women Cracking the Code

A guest post from the National Cryptologic Museum explores women code breakers' top-secret work during World War II.

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Navy WAVE working on US Navy Cryptanalytic Bombe
Thu, January 18 2018

How Many Missions Did Flak-Bait Fly?

Flak-Bait, the museum’s Martin B-26 Marauder bomber, flew more combat missions than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II. But how many missions did it participate in exactly?

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Martin B-26B Marauder Flak-Bait
Thu, November 2 2017

The Unknown History of the Curtiss P-40E Lope's Hope

How a single e-mail helped uncover the previously unknown history of the Museum's Curtiss P-40E Lope’s Hope.

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Flight Lieutenant Robert W. Lynch, Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron 111F
Fri, October 13 2017

How a "Flying Pickup Truck" Survived Pearl Harbor

The historic importance of the Sikorsky JRS-1—a weathered blue-gray airplane now on display at our Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia—is not because of the type of airplane it is. Its importance lies in one of the places the JRS-1 has been and survived: Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

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Sikorsky JRS-1
Fri, July 21 2017

Five Things to Know About the Spitfire, the Legend of Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s latest movie, Dunkirk, will premiere in theaters this upcoming Friday, July 21. And although you may know it stars actors such as Tom Hardy, Harry Styles, and Cillian Murphy, you may not know that the National Air and Space Museum houses examples of two of the main airplanes featured in the film. We have a Royal Air Force (RAF) Supermarine Spitfire and a Messerschmitt Bf 109 of the Luftwaffe, although the Museum’s aircraft are slightly younger than those that participated in Operation Dynamo.

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Five Things to Know About the Spitfire, the Legend of Dunkirk
Fri, March 31 2017

Women Guided the Way in the [Simulated] Sky During WWII

The U.S. Navy’s WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) were a notable legacy of World War II’s influence on the evolving gender norms of the later 20th century.

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Learning the Celestial Navigation Trainer
Wed, December 7 2016

The Complicated Lead Up to Pearl Harbor

Today, on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Curator Laurence Burke took a step back and explored the long and complicated history that led up to the Japanese attack. Burke, to an audience outside the Museum’s Sea-Air Operations gallery, said the story of Pearl Harbor often focuses on the events of December 7, 1941, but not what happened before the day that President Roosevelt called, “a date which will live in infamy.” To understand Pearl Harbor, Burke took the audience back to 1853-1854 when U.S. Naval Captain Matthew C. Perry sailed to Japan and negotiated the opening of Japanese ports for trade. After more than 200 years of self-imposed isolation, Japan wanted to engage with the rest of the world.  

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Attack on Pearl Harbor

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