It suffered the highest casualty rate of any American forces in World War II. The Eighth Air Force was organized in Savannah in January 1942 as part of the U.S. Army Air Forces. Its mission was straightforward, but easier said than flown: bombing heavily defended strategic and military targets in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe.
The Eighth was the largest group of its kind: it primarily flew B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators. Conditions were extreme: missions were long, temperatures below zero, aircraft tricky to fly and no fighter escorts. Flight crews took casualty rates of 12 percent.
In 1944, the Eighth Air Force launched the first American bombing raid against Berlin after British RAF bombers were nearly cut to pieces flying against the German capital. The mighty Eighth’s air campaign against Germany played a key role in the Allied victory in 1945.
The Mighty Eighth Museum in Pooler honors the valor of the American airborne fighting force with Georgia roots that began bombing Berlin on March 4, 1944, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.