TIL in the rushed rampup to train military pilots during World War II from a thousand graduates in 1939 to hundreds of thousands by 1945, over 15,000 Americans died in nearly 30,000 crashes in stateside training alone

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Historically more service members have died in training than in combat. Overall. Edit: I should have said “non combat” deaths outnumber combat deaths. This includes training accidents, suicide, homicide and conditions caused by dangerous exposures.


That’s 10 trainees per day, over the course of the war.


The US response to the war was all or nothing. If it wasn’t directly, tangibly supporting the war effort, then it didn’t matter. If this involved the sacrifice of lives, then that was just the cost of admission. Looking at our response to the pandemic, versus how we responded to the Axis, is quite an astonishing contrast.


Terrain, terrain! PULL UP!


My father was one of those guys. Then he became an instructor pilot before heading out to his carrier for combat in the Pacific. He liked to relate one amusing story of a perpetually unlucky instructor who kept having engine failures on takeoff. This field they were operating from had an area of tree stumps beyond the runway (I guess they cut down the trees and just left the stumps) and this poor fellow kept ending up ass-over-teakettle in the stump field. It happened two or three times and after the last episode, the guy strode into the CO’s office, slammed his gold wings down on the desk, and declared “I quit!” Maybe he decided he was better suited to be a surface warfare officer.