Main Characters in Masters of the Air
Gen. Hap Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces in World War II and the only air commander ever to attain the five-star rank of “General of the Army.”
Maj. Gale “Buck” Cleven, Eighth Air Force Squadron commander, credited for giving the 100th Bomb group its personality.
Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney, young war correspondents who flew in the bombers and covered life on the bomber bases. They were part of what was known as The Writing 69th.
Clark Gable, the famous hollywood actor, was an Eighth Air Force B-17 gunner.
Lt. Gen James Doolittle, the first American to bomb Japan, and later commander of the Eighth Air Force, starting in 1944.
Gen. Ira Eaker, the man who built the Eighth Air Force in England and was its first bomber commander.
Maj. John Egan, commander of a bomber squadron called the Bloody 100th. He was Major Cleven’s best friend.
Col. Bernie Lay, Jr., one of the founders of the Eighth Force, who co-authored with Cy Bartlett, another air force leader, Twelve O’ Clock High!, the finest novel and later dramatic film on the bomber war.
Curtis LeMay, one of the most controversial figures in American military history. He changed the way the American bomber war was fought with more accurate bombing.
Cap. Glenn Miller, who toured the English bases with his Air Force band and died a mysterious death in a crash over the English Channel, a mystery that has recently been solved.
Robert Morgan, pilot of the famous Memphis Belle, whose crew was among the first to survive the airmen’s required allotment of twenty-five missions.
Lieutenant Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal was the inspirational leader of the Bloody Hundredth. He enlisted on the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, and flew 52 combat missions and was shot down three times. In one bombing raid, over Munster, Germany, his was the only plane to return. An attorney, Rosenthal became part of the team of prosecuting attorneys at the Nuremberg Trials.
Gen. Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, head of all American Air Force operations in Europe and the outstanding air commander of the war.
Jimmy Stewart, Hollywood actor and one of the most accomplished combat commanders in the Eighth Air Force.
Paul Tibbets, leader of the first Eighth Air Force mission of the war, who was later transferred to the Pacific and piloted the plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Col. William Wyler was the hollywood director who flew with Robert Morgan and filmed the story of the plane and its crew. He later directed the Oscar-winning Best Years of Our Lives, which featured Dana Andrews as a bombardier just home from the war.
Chuck Yeager, an Eighth Air Force fighter pilot who was shot down over Nazi-occupied France and escaped across the Pyrenees with the help of the French Underground. He is the hero of the book and film The Right Stuff.