The Eighth Air Force was formed and dispatched to England in 1942 to become the largest military unit in World War II, and the largest bomber force of all time. Over 350,000 airmen served in Europe.
The Eighth Air Force has continued as an operational combat unit to this day with over one million serving the country in war and in peace.
No Mighty Eighth mission was ever turned back due to enemy action.The cost was 26,000 killed in action, and over 28,000 prisoners of war. The number of missing in action and wounded has not been counted.
In a one week period of October 8th - 14th, 1943, the Eighth Air Force lost over 100 Heavy Bombers to enemy action over the skies of Europe, and despite heavy losses, many feel that this was the turning point for daylight strategic bombing. Targets during this week were:
October 8, 1943:
|Bremen, Germany||27 Bombers lost + 3 Fighters|
|Vegesack, Germany||3 Bombers lost|
October 9, 1943:
|Anklam, Germany||18 Bombers lost|
|Marienburg,Prussia||2 Bombers lost|
|Danzig, Poland||2 Bombers lost|
|Gdynia, Poland||6 Bombers lost|
October 10, 1943:
|Munster, Germany||30 Bombers lost + 1 Fighter|
October 14, 1943:
|Schweinfurt, Germany||62 Bombers lost + 1 Fighter|
The Eighth Air Force Historical Society, the largest single military unit veterans group in history, holds its annual reunions in the month of October.
Today 20,000 Eighth Air Force Historical Society members are seeking to inform later generations of the contribution and sacrifice made by our generation to perpetuate America's freedom and way of life.
Every year during the week of October 8th - 14th, we will ask every Eighth Air Force Veteran and friend of the Eighth to wear and display items identifying them with The Mighty Eighth to honor and remember our comrades and especially those who made the supreme sacrifice.
THEREFORE, we do hereby proclaim every October 8 - 14 to be
MIGHTY EIGHTH AIR FORCE WEEK