The views and opinions expressed or implied in WBY are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents.

Drawing a Straight Line?: The Normandy Campaign and U.S. Air Force Culture since the Second World War

  • Published
  • By Prof. Sebastian H. Lukasik

In February 2019, the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes published an article that examined the unique way in which the 48th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force, a unit composed of F-15E Strike Eagles and based at RAF Lakenheath, commemorated the upcoming seventy-fifth anniversary of the Normandy landings, an operation in which the same unit had prominently participated. To honor this milestone anniversary and “celebrate the wing’s heritage,” three of its aircraft were given a new paint job that featured a red-and-white checker pattern on the nose, and the iconic black-and-white D-Day stripes in the wings and the fuselage, thus approximating the color pattern worn by the unit’s P-47 Thunderbolts in June 1944. The wing commander, Colonel Will Marshall, explained that the unveiling of the newly-painted jet fighters underscored the unbroken historical continuities linking the wing’s exploits in the Normandy campaign with the missions it performs today. “While we stand on the shoulders of giants of the kind of men and women who were part of that [i.e. the Normandy campaign], there are great men and women projecting combat power today.” He went on to add that his command’s distinct commemoration “allows us to draw that straight line between the events of that day to what folks are doing here and be motivated when they see that airplane.”[1]

The 48th Fighter Wing’s enthusiastic embrace of D-Day commemorations, along with the emphasis on the Normandy campaign of its – and by implication, the U.S. Air Force’s – organizational identity, are part of a wider phenomenon. Fly-pasts by historic and modern U.S. military aircraft, reenactments of parachute jumps, and celebrations of the exploits of individual units and aircrews have been standard features of D-Day remembrance ceremonies.[2] Nor is the USAF alone among America’s armed services in seeking to reconnect with its roots in the Second World War as that conflict recedes from living memory into history. In late 2018, the U.S. Army formally approved the so-called “Army Greens” – colloquially known as the “pinks-and-greens” and based on classic Second World War-era design – as the “everyday business-wear uniform for all soldiers” beginning in 2020.[3] Precisely why the U.S. military is becoming increasingly preoccupied with celebrating its exploits in the Second World War at this exact historical moment defies simple explanations, but two immediate answers suggest themselves. Straightforward nostalgia for a conflict that represented the greatest test to which American military institutions have ever been subjected is, without doubt, a factor. But the same longing for a glorious past might also reflect present-day cultural and institutional concerns and priorities, with appeals to the historical memory of the Second World War affirming the U.S. military’s ongoing efforts to distance itself from the frustrating experience of nearly two decades’ worth of counterinsurgency, counter-terrorism, and “nation-building” efforts, and reaffirm its commitment to preparing for another era of “great power competition” as its strategic raison d'être.[4]  

For the USAF in particular, a sustained effort to commemorate its achievements in Normandy makes sense for another, unique reason. In conjunction with other Allied nations’ air services, the USAF’s direct institutional predecessor, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF), made a crucial contribution to the Allied victory in Normandy in the summer of 1944. In fact, the Normandy campaign may well have represented the apogee of airpower – both as a set of distinct capabilities as well as an intellectual concept – in the Second World War. Above all, Normandy vindicated air superiority as the central tenet of airpower theory and doctrine – the one airpower mission that makes all the others possible – providing American airpower theorist John Warden with a key data point in support of his assertion that “Air superiority is a necessity” in modern warfare.[5] Participants and contemporary observers on both sides of the struggle said as much. “If I didn’t have air supremacy,” Dwight Eisenhower famously declared to his son a few days after the D-Day landings, “I wouldn’t be here.”[6] His opposite number across the frontline, Generalfeldmarschal Gerd von Rundstedt, echoed this sentiment when he claimed that Allied air forces had almost completely deprived his forces of their ability to conduct movement and maneuver during the campaign.[7]                                                                                        

Historians have largely corroborated this verdict, affirming the crucial role that Allied airpower played in ensuring the success of Operation Overlord and the subsequent breakout from the Normandy bridgehead, an outcome in which the Allies’ growing proficiency in the employment of tactical aviation was of paramount importance.[8] According to Thomas A. Hughes, airpower “played a crucial and perhaps decisive role” in the liberation of Western France.[9] A number of scholars and commentators have taken this one step further. Not satisfied with highlighting airpower’s enormous contribution to the success of Allied forces in Western Europe in the early summer of 1944, they have constructed a compelling case for the Normandy battles as the first modern air campaign, a precursor of the combined and even joint warfighting paradigms that gradually emerged in the second half of the twentieth century.[10] In this vein, Richard P. Hallion has singled out Normandy as “the classic example of complex combined arms, multiservice, coalition warfare” and “true air-land battle” whose successful execution depended on airpower’s proven ability to generate and sustain “not merely air superiority, but air supremacy, making victory on the ground that much easier.”[11] Historian and strategic theorist Colin S. Gray echoed this argument when he proclaimed that “the D-Day operation and the great campaign from Normandy to the Elbe that succeeded it were a triumph of intelligent air-ground cooperation.”[12]       

With airmen, airpower thinkers, and historians so strident in affirming the Normandy campaign’s stature as a touchstone of the modern USAF’s service culture and a vital source of relevant doctrinal lessons, it might come as a surprise that such efforts are of relatively recent vintage. That the USAF should continue to look toward its experience in Normandy for inspiration and practical lessons is less remarkable than the length of time it took for that institution and its advocates to “discover” the campaign as a historical event worthy of systematic analysis and high-profile celebration. In fact, the process through which the Normandy campaign became a touchstone of the USAF’s culture and identity was anything but a matter of “draw[ing] a straight line” between the exploits of its institutional predecessors in 1944 and its present-day missions. Prior to the 1980s, one scans the pages of the USAF’s professional journal and official and semi-official publications and historical case studies in vain for evidence of a sustained, systematic effort to commemorate Normandy or derive practical “lessons learned” for air operations. The official history of the USAAF in the Second World War discusses the Normandy air effort at length, but in a way that affirms its secondary importance in relation to the long-term strategic bombing efforts against the German heartland. The opening paragraph to the Normandy chapter is almost self-defeating in priming readers to moderate their expectations of what airpower attained during the campaign:

So much of air’s contribution to the success of the Normandy landings depended upon the cumulative effect of operations extending back days, months, and even years which preceded D-Day that D-Day itself, though providing an obvious climax to this preparatory work, was almost an anticlimax.[13]

Nearly four decades elapsed before the Normandy air campaign acquired the cultural and intellectual meaning that the USAF attached to it today. When the USAF formally attained institutional independence in 1947, its senior leaders cultivated a service personality that integrated the experience of the Second World War, but did so in a highly selective fashion, one that initially relegated the Normandy air campaign to the periphery of institutional memory. Only in the aftermath of the Vietnam War did airpower’s achievements in Normandy begin to emerge as a focal point of interest for American airmen seeking both tangible “lessons learned” and an integral element of its corporate persona.                                 

At the broadest analytical level, the USAF’s initial reluctance to pay serious attention to its experience in Normandy may be attributed to its troubled relationship with the historical past as a potential guide to the future. Since its earliest days as the air element of the U.S. Army in the 1920s, American airmen consistently questioned the utility and relevance of historical experience for a service that prided itself on its cultural and technological dynamism, and grounded its identity in their mastery of novel technology, their innovative solutions to strategic problems, and their “future-oriented” in intellectual and cultural outlook.[14] No less an authority than William “Billy” Mitchell, one of the prominent members of the USAF’s Pantheon of airpower heroes, set the pattern as early as 1925 when he wrote that “In the development of airpower, one has to look forward, not backward and figure out what is going to happen, not too much what has happened.”[15] Such attitudes became institutionalized in the decade preceding the Second World War, with the USAAF’s Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS) militantly rejecting the utility of anything but the most recent past, and enshrining its ahistorical outlook in the pig-Latin motto Proficimus More Irretenti (“We progress unhindered by tradition”).[16] Victory in the Second World War, combined with the USAF's attainment of organizational independence in 1947, did little to shake such convictions, and certainly provided little incentive for an objective assessment of the Normandy air campaign.

This is not to say that the USAF completely dismissed its wartime experience. Instead, senior service leaders used it selectively in order to buttress a cultural narrative rooted in arguments about the central role that the strategic bombing offensives in Europe and the Pacific played in defeating the Axis powers. Its essence best encapsulated in the title and central message of Alexander de Seversky’s polemical 1942 paean to strategic bombing, Victory Through Air Power, this narrative depicted the Combined Bomber Offensive against Germany, the conventional B-29 raids against Japan, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as evidence that airpower could produce strategically decisive, war-winning results independently of the action of surface forces by striking directly at enemy nations’ centers of gravity and delivering a decisive victory.[17] Reinforced by a highly selective interpretation of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, the narrative found widespread acceptance within the USAF, receiving what amounted to the official sanction from its senior leaders, with the USAF’s first two chiefs of staff, Carl A. Spaatz and Hoyt S. Vandenberg, prioritizing policies that privileged the development of a force of nuclear-armed, intercontinental bombers as the service’s overriding priority.[18]                             

This vision was fully in keeping with the USAF’s efforts to position itself, beginning in the late 1940s as, first and foremost, a strategic bomber force capable of deterring and, if necessary, successfully fighting a nuclear war against the Soviet Union.[19] But the same focus relegated to the periphery of institutional memory airpower’s other contributions to victory in the Second World War. Normandy was a notable case in point. As an air campaign that highlighted the value of air-ground integration, and showcased airpower’s ability to facilitate the movement and maneuver of land forces, it contributed little to the USAF’s emphasis on the strategically decisive potential of airpower operating independently of the other services. The USAF’s rejection of the Normandy campaign’s legacies and implications for air warfare and for its service culture manifested itself in a number of subtle but telling ways. The most significant consisted of what one historian has referred to as the USAF’s systematic “disestablishment” of its close air support (CAS) and aerial interdiction (AI) capabilities.[20] These were precisely the airpower missions whose effectiveness the Normandy campaign had starkly demonstrated.[21] Beginning in 1948, the USAF’s Tactical Air Command (TAC), the direct organizational descendant of the tactical air commands – Elwood R. Quesada’s IX TAC and Otto P. Weyland’s XIX TAC – saw its budgets, personnel, and resources drain away as senior USAF leaders prioritized the development of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and its nuclear deterrence and strike capabilities at the cost of all other missions.[22] “If, at any time it appears that expenditures for tactical aviation will jeopardize development in strategic, the former will have to be sacrificed,” a staff officer argued in 1948 article published in the Air University Quarterly Review, the USAF premier professional journal.[23] By the late 1950s, TAC had become a “junior SAC,” an organization unduly focused on delivering tactical nuclear weapons, rather than burnishing the skillsets its predecessors had honed to a fine edge in Normandy.[24] In the 1959 fiscal year, only eight percent of the USAF’s research and development budget went toward tactical air weapons, systems, and platforms.[25]                                                                

Other factors compounded the USAF’s tendency to relegate its considerable achievements in Normandy to the margins of its institutional memory. In the 1950s, the Eisenhower administration’s adoption of a defense policy based on nuclear weapons and “massive retaliation” was the most economical way of guarding America’s national security.[26] This trend could only accelerate the USAF’s commitment to strategic airpower and, by implication, further reduce the incentive to pay attention to “tactical” air campaigns exemplified by Normandy. Commitment to nuclear deterrence went hand-in-hand with the pursuit of such cutting-edge technologies and capabilities as intercontinental ballistic missiles and space-based communications, reconnaissance, and early warning systems.[27] The advent of such technologies cast doubt on the utility of tactical aviation and, by implication, on the relevance of lessons derived from historical campaigns such as Normandy. As early as August 1945, Major General Lauris Norstad noted that while battlefield aviation represented “one of the greatest developments” of the Second World War, the advent of nuclear weapons and associated technologies and systems made tactical air forces “as old-fashioned as the Maginot line.”[28] Similarly, in 1953, Brigadier General James Ferguson, deputy commander of TAC’s Ninth Air Force and a veteran of Normandy, suggested in an Air War College lecture that in light of new forms of military technology, close air support of the sort that allowed Allied forces to break out of Normandy and advance toward Paris was no longer relevant.[29] Sentiments of this nature boded ill for any systematic analysis of the Normandy campaign and its lessons for the independent USAF.

During the early Cold War, the USAF’s ambivalence toward any part of its recent past other than the strategic bombing efforts of the Second World War revealed an even deeper source of its reluctance to recognize the Normandy campaign as the pivotal event in its history. A number of air leaders – American as well as British – never ceased to resent the fact that the imperatives of Overlord forced them to use airpower in a way that departed from the basic tenets of classical airpower theory with its emphasis on, and promise of, the attainment of strategically decisive results through airpower operating independently of surface forces. No less a figure than Carl Spaatz exemplified this attitude. Though committed to supporting the Normandy landings and the subsequent campaign, he never ceased to cast doubts on the fundamental strategic rationale behind Overlord. In his view, it was a “highly dubious,” “highly dangerous” operation whose outcome was “extremely uncertain.”[30] Speaking to his staff a few weeks before the landings, he stated flatly that “This ----- invasion can’t succeed, and I don’t want any part of the blame. After it fails, we can show them how we can win by bombing” (expletive deleted in the original).[31] With the “bomber generals” firmly in control of shaping the USAF’s culture after the war, it was unlikely that the newly independent service would celebrate a campaign that exemplified the effectiveness of tactical, or battlefield, aviation.

Even as the USAF affirmed its identity as primarily an independent strategic striking force, the realities of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts demonstrated that neglecting the airpower lessons of Normandy came at a price. In both conflicts, CAS and AI emerged as vital airpower missions while illuminating the extent to which USAF’s focus on strategic nuclear deterrence and the cost of the corresponding failure to institutionalize the lessons of air-ground cooperation that it had learned in Normandy.[32] Changes in the organizational climate in the aftermath of Vietnam proved favorable to a revival of interest in the lessons of Normandy. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, the stranglehold that the “bomber generals” had held over the USAF’s senior leadership positions gradually loosened.[33] In the 1980s, “AirLand Battle” progressively gained traction among American military professionals as an operational concept whose antecedents could be traced to the air-ground campaigns of the Second World War.[34] Finally, the American military increasingly sought to institutionalize a culture of “jointness,” its foundations set in place with the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986.[35] Collectively, these developments underscored the USAF's gradual shift, in the late twentieth century, toward a “unitary concept airpower” that transcends structural distinctions between strategic and tactical aviation. In the process, this trend helped elevate the Normandy air campaign to the stature of a key historical antecedent for many of the concepts at the heart of the USAF doctrine in the last three decades, including expeditionary warfare, and parallel and effects-based operations in the framework of a joint campaign.[36]

The USAF’s experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past two decades have further heightened the trend toward conceptualizing airpower in terms that have more in common with the combined-arms framework reminiscent of Normandy than with the concept of a strategically decisive potential of independent airpower. In those conflicts, airpower has largely functioned as a “critical enabler” of the joint force, especially in support of ground forces, rather than “a decisive military force” in its own right.[37] During its tour in Afghanistan in 2009, the 335th Fighter Squadron, a unit of F-15E fighters tasked with flying CAS missions, displayed a sign in its headquarters at Bagram airbase that proclaimed: “THE MISSION IS AN EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD WITH A RIFLE, EVERYTHING ELSE IS SECONDARY.”[38] This sentiment would not have been out of place in any of the units that Quesada commanded in Normandy seven decades earlier in support of Omar Bradley’s infantry.[39]                                                                                          

It remains to be seen how long the USAF’s present-day awareness and celebration of its exploits in Normandy might endure given ongoing shifts in institutional priorities and strategic imperatives. An air campaign that showcased airpower’s potential as an enabler of ground forces while highlighting the capacity of Allied airmen to harness technology for the purposes of real-time innovation, Normandy reinforces the cultural narratives that have dominated the USAF’s service identity for nearly four decades. The memory of that operation, therefore, provides a convenient historical reference point for buttressing current institutional orthodoxies about the purpose and optimal uses of airpower. Like all orthodoxies and dominant cultural narratives, however, this one may very well undergo a major transformation in keeping with changes in the basic contours of the USAF’s service culture. The return to “great power competition,” in conjunction with the growing importance to air warfare of the space and cyber domains, may very well prompt a reassessment of the continued relevance of such operations as the Normandy air campaign. Whatever the case, the USAF’s institutional memory of Normandy will likely continue to be dictated less by dispassionate assessments of airpower’s role in the Allied victory on 1944, and more by present-day institutional debates about what constitutes effective airpower.

Prof. Sebastian H. Lukasik
Dr. Lukasik is an Associate Professor in the Department of Leader and Research Development at Air Command and Staff College. His research interests include the theory and history of airpower, military culture, and combat motivation.


[1.] William Howard, “U.S. F-15s at Lakenheath painted to commemorate 75th D-Day anniversary,” Stars and Stripes, 1 February 2019, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from In similar fashion, the previous year’s D-Day commemorations featured an overflight of the Normandy beaches by an A-10C ground-attack aircraft from the 107th Fighter Squadron of the Michigan Air National Guard that had been “specially painted” to feature s set of invasion stripes on its fuselage. See Daniel Brown, “The U.S. Air Force flew a specially painted A-10 over Normandy to mark 74 years since D-Day,” Business Insider, 6 June 2018, retrieved 23 June 2019 from

[2.] For recent examples, see Brian Everstine. “U.S., French Leaders mark 75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Air Force Magazine, 6 June 2019, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from; “Task Force Commemorate,” Air Force Magazine, 1 June 2016, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from; “Flying Jennies Over Normandy,” Air Force Magazine, 7 June 2016, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from; “440th AW Ends Service that Began on D-Day, Air Force Magazine, 13 June 2016, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from; “Heritage Heavies,” Air Force Magazine, 3 June 2014, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from; Jesse McKinley, “Preparing a Veteran of D-Day for Its Return to Normandy,” The New York Times, 14 May 2014, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from; “Gooney Bird’s Normandy Nostalgia,” Air Force Magazine, 28 May 2014, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from's-Normandy-Nostalgia.aspx.

[3.] Meghann Myers, “It’s official: Army approves ‘pinks and greens’ uniform on Veterans’ Day,” Army Times, 11 November 2018, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from

[4.] According to the latest iteration of the National Defense Strategy issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, “Inter-state strategic completion, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.” See U.S. Department of Defense, Summary of the National Defense Strategy of the United States of America: Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge (2018), 1.

[5.] W. A. Jacobs, “Operation OVERLORD,” in Benjamin Franklin Cooling, ed., Case Studies in the Achievement of Air Superiority (Washington, D.C.: Air History and Museums Program, 1994), 271-322; John A. Warden III, The Air Campaign: Planning for Combat (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1988), Ch. 1, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from

[6.] John S. D. Eisenhower, Strictly Personal: A Memoir (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1974), 72.

[7.] U.S. Air Force, Assistant Chief of Staff, Studies and Analysis, “The Impact of Allied Interdiction on German Strategy for Normandy,” (August 1969), 14, retrieved on 23 June 2019 from

[8.] Will A. Jacobs, “The Battle for France, 1944,” in Benjamin Franklin Cooling, ed., Case Studies in the Development of Close Air Support (Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1990), 237-293; Thomas A. Hughes, Over Lord: General Pete Quesada and the Triumph of Tactical Air Power in World War II (New York: Free Press, 1995), 141-249; David N. Spires, Air Power for Patton’s Army: The XIX Tactical Air Command in the Second World War (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 2002), 49-108; 

[9.] Thomas A. Hughes, “Normandy: A Modern Air Campaign?” Air and Space Power Journal, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Winter 2003), 28. Seminal accounts of the Normandy campaign agree that airpower functioned as the single most important asymmetrical advantage that the Allies enjoyed over the Germans. See for example John Keegan, Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris (London: Jonathan Cape, 1982); Carlo D’Este, Decision in Normandy (New York: Dutton, 1983); John Prados, Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle that Shaped World War II in Europe (New York: Penguin, 2011); Mark J. Reardon, Victory at Mortain: Stopping Hitler’s Panzer Counteroffensive (Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2002); Joachim Ludwig, Rückzug: The German Retreat from France, 1944, trans. by David Zabecki (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2017). The one notable exception is Max Hastings, who asserts that claims about airpower’s importance in the Normandy fighting are a “cliché,” and argues, albeit implicitly, that the campaign’s outcome was largely determined by the grueling fighting on the ground. See Max Hastings, Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 266-269.

[10.] See for example Michael D. Doubler, Busting the Bocage: American Combined Arms Operations in France, 6 June-31 July 1944 (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Combat Studies Institute, 1988); Michael L. Wolfert, “From ACTS to Cobra: Evolution of Close Air Support Doctrine in World War Two,” USAF Air Command and Staff College Student Report #88-2800, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, April 1988.

[11.] Richard P. Hallion, D-Day 1944: Air Power over the Normandy Beaches and Beyond (Washington, D.C: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1994), 39-42, 44.

[12.] Colin S. Gray, Airpower for Strategic Effect (Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press, 2012), 130.

[13.] Robert H. George, “Normandy,” in Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume Three: Europe: Argument to V-E Day, January 1944 to May 1945 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1951), 185.

[14.] Carl H. Builder, The Masks of War: American Military Styles in Strategy and Analysis (Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), 32-33, 67-73; Jeffrey W. Donnithrone, Four Guardians: A Principled Agent View of American Civil Military Relations (Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018).

[15.] William Mitchell, Winged Defense: The Development and Possibilities of Modern Air Power – Economic and Military (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1925), 20-21.

[16.] Tami Davis Biddle, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare: The Evolution of British and American Ideas about Strategic Bombing, 1914-1945 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2002), 138.

[17.] Alexander de Seversky, Victory Through Airpower (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1942); Philip DS. Meilinger, “Alexander P. de Seversky and American Airpower,” in  The Paths of Heaven: The Evolution of Airpower Theory (Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press, 1997), 239-278; James K. Libbey, Alexander P. de Seversky and the Quest for Airpower (Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books, 2013); Paula Thornhill, “Over, Not Through”: The Search for a Strong Unified Culture for America’s Airmen (Santa Monica, California: RAND Corporation, 2012), 4-5; Alan J. Vick, Proclaiming Airpower: Air Force Narratives and American Public Opinion from 1917 to 2014 (Santa Monica, California: RAND Corporation, 2015), 52-55.

[18.] David R. Mets, Master of Airpower: General Carl A. Spaatz (Novato, California: Presidio Press), 311-332; Philip S. Meilinger, Hoyt S. Vandenberg: The Life of a General (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1989), 85-159; Philip S. Meilinger, Bomber: The Formation and Early Years of Strategic Air Command (Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press, 2012), 47-59, 62; Carl Spaatz, “Strategic Air Power: Fulfillment of a Concept,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 23, No. 3 (April 1946), 385-396; Warren A. Trest, Air Force Roles and Missions: A History (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1998), 109-150; Walton S. Moody, Building a Strategic Air Force (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1995).

[19.] Meilinger, Bomber; Edward Kaplan, To Kill Nations: American Strategy in the Air-Atomic Age and the Rise of Mutually Assured Destruction (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2015); Melvin G. Dealie, Always at War: Organizational Culture in Strategic Air Command, 1946-62 (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 2018). 

[20.] Richard P. Hallion, Strike from the Sky: The History of Battlefield Air Attack, 1911-1945 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), 265.

[21.] Eduard Mark, Aerial Interdiction: Air Power and the Land Battle in Three American Wars (Washington, D.C.: Center for Air Force History, 1994), 211-257; Jacobs, “The Battle for France, 1944,” in Cooling, ed., Case Studies in the Development of Close Air Support, 237-293. 

[22.] Hughes, Over Lord, 311-313; John Schlight, Help from Above: Air Force Close Air Support of the Army, 1946-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 2003), 53-112.

[23.] Joseph L. Dickman, “Douhet and the Future,” Air University Quarterly Review, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Summer 1948), 3-15.

[24.] Conrad C. Crane, American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 1950-1953 (Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2000), 172.

[25.] Robert F. Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force, 1907-1960 (Maxwell, AFB, Alabama: Air University Press, 1989), 525.

[26.] William I. Hitchcock, The Age of Eisenhower: American and the World in the 1950s (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018), 87-114.

[27.] Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine, Vol. I, 477-554.

[28.] Memorandum, Colonel Philip D. Cole to Colonel Reuben C. Moffett, Chief, Postwar Plans Division, subject: A Realistic Conception of a Post-War Air Force,” 22 August 1945, as quoted in Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine, Vol. I, 173.

[29.] Brigadier General James E. Ferguson, “An Air Officer’s Concept for the Defense of Western Europe,” lecture, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 31 March 1953, as quoted in Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine, Vol. I, 441; Walton S. Moody and Warren A. Trest, “The Air Force as an Institution,” in Bernard C. Nalty, ed., Winged Shield, Winged Sword: A History of the United States Air Force, Vol. II: 1950-1997 (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1997), 103-104; see also James E. Ferguson, “The Role of Tactical Air Forces,” Air University Quarterly Review, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Summer 1954), 28-41.

[30.] Notes on conference between Carl A. Spaatz and Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Spaatz Diary, 10 April 1944, Carl A. Spaatz Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., as quoted in Richard D. Davis, Carl A. Spaatz and the Air War in Europe (Washington, D.C.: Center for Air Force History, 1993), 528.

[31.] Walt W. Rostow, Pre-Invasion Bombing Strategy: General Eisenhower’s Decision of March 25, 1944 (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1981), 41. 

[32.] Crane, American Airpower Strategy in Korea; Schlight, Help from Above, 113-178, 299-364; Mark, Aerial Interdiction, 261-400; Allan R. Millett, “Korea, 1950-1953,” in Cooling, ed., Close Air Support, 345-410; Sbrega, “Southeast Asia,” in Cooling, ed., Close Air Support, 411-534, Donald J. Mrozek, Air Power and the Ground War in Vietnam: Ideas and Actions (Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press, 1988).

[33.] Mike Warden, Rise of the Fighter Generals: The Problem of Air Force Leadership, 1945-1982 (Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press, 1997.

[34.] John L. Romjue, “The Evolution of the AirLand Battle Concept,” Air University Review, Vol. 35, No. 4 (May-June 1984), 4-15; Robert F. Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force, Vol. II: 1961-1984 (Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press, 1989), 467-582; Harold R. Winton, “Partnership and Tension: The Army and Air Force between Vietnam and Desert Shield,” Parameters: The U.S. Army War College Quarterly, Vol. 26 (Spring 1996), 100-119.

[35.] James R. Locher III, Victory on the Potomac: The Goldwater-Nichols Act Unifies the Pentagon (College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 2004).

[36.] Hughes, “Normandy: A Modern Air Campaign?”, 27-28.

[37.] Thornhill, “Over, Not Through”, 7.  

[38.] Clinton Romesha, Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor (New York: Penguin Books, 2016), 263-264.  

[39.] Hughes, Over Lord, 177.

Wild Blue Yonder Home