The Eighth Bomber Command was activated as part of the United States Army Air Forces on January 28, 1942 at Hunter Field in Savannah, Georgia. Brigadier General Ira C. Eaker took the headquarters to England the next month to prepare for its assignment of conducting high-altitude, daylight precision bombing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe. Re-designated the 8th Air Force in February 1944, and under the leadership of such Generals as Eaker and Jimmy Doolittle, the 8th Air Force became the greatest air armada in history.
By mid-1944, it had reached a total strength of more than 200,000 people, and it is estimated that more than 350,000 Americans served in the 8th during World War II. At its peak, the 8th Air Force could dispatch more than 2,000 four-engine B-17 and B-24 bombers and 1,000 fighters on a single mission. For these reasons, the 8th became known as “The Mighty Eighth”. The Mighty Eighth compiled an impressive record during the war, however, this achievement carried a high price. The 8th AF suffered one-half of the U.S. Army Air Forces’ casualties in World War II (47,000-plus casualties with more than 26,000 deaths; more than the entire Marine Corps).
It is our duty to remember.