The Douglas C-54 Skkymaster served around the globe during World War II and accelerated the growth of peacetime air travel.

Japan

WWII Aircraft: The Douglas C-54 Skymaster

By Sam McGowan

At the beginning of World War II, the globe seemed huge—covered by thousands of miles of ocean and uninhabited land mass, but by the time it ended everything had been brought closer together, thanks largely to the four-engine transports of the United States Army Air Transport Command, particularly the Douglas C-54 Skymaster. Read more

Japan

First Casualties at Iwo Jima

By Christopher Marks

Lieutenant Harold Gilson Payne, Jr., was one of the first Americans to die at Iwo Jima. He did not fall in the carnage of the Marine invasion that began on February 19, 1945. Read more

Ferocious attacks by Japanese planes took a heavy toll in lives and damaged dozens of U.S. Navy vessels during operations to capture the island.

Japan

Divine Wind Over Okinawa

By Kelly Bell

April 1, 1945, was Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day. It was also the day the U.S. Army and Marine Corps launched Operation Iceberg, their massive amphibious assault on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Read more

Japan

M4 Sherman: “Blunder” or “Wonder” Weapon?

By Blaine Taylor

For the Allied tankers and infantrymen of the American, British, Canadian, and Free French armies battling German Panther and Tiger tanks in Normandy in the summer of 1944, the Sherman tank’s failures were glaringly evident as their own shells bounced off the hulls of the Nazi armor and they were themselves destroyed at a far greater range by the powerful German tanks. Read more

A Japanese balloon bomb drifted 6,000 miles to deliver a deadly blow to a party of Sunday school picnickers in Bly, Oregon.

Japan

Project Fugo: The Japanese Balloon Bombs

By Allan T. Duffin

On Saturday, May 5, 1945, three days before the end of World War II in Europe and just three months before the Japanese surrendered, spinning shards of metal ripped into the tall pine trees, burrowing holes into bark and tearing needles from branches outside the tiny logging community of Bly, Oregon. Read more