Printer Friendly

Winged warriors: a tribute to military aviators.

America's air services--Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard--have played an instrumental role in the nation's defense starting with World War I. But far too often, the focus has been on the machine instead of the man. So while countless words celebrate the centennial of flight on Dec. 17, we at VFW pay tribute to those aircrew members who sacrificed their lives using aircraft as a means of protecting their country.

The accompanying chart tallies only the nearly 64,000 warriors of the skies who were killed as a result of enemy action since 1917. But in intent these two pages commemorate all air service members--fixed-wing and helicopter--who died while flying. Thousands of additional American military aviators were killed accidentally in both wartime and peacetime. Their deaths are certainly equally meaningful in terms of sacrifice.

VFW salutes the nation's valiant winged warriors on this 100th anniversary of flight not only to pay respect to past aviation achievements, but for those to come. Airplane and helicopter crews are even now creating new chapters in the annals of aerial warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Military Avers Killed by Enemy Action

WAR/OPERATION             DATES   AIR FORCE   NAVY   MARINES     ARMY

World War I             1917-18       237    50 (1)       3    See A.F.
Nicaragua                  1927        --        --       2          --
World War II            1941-45    53,007     3,951     563    See A.F.
Korean War              1950-53     1,238       177     258          16
Cold War                1946-65        93        78       1          --
Korea DMZ      1955,'61,'77,'94         2        --      --           6
Vietnam                 1961-73     1,521       414     423       1,830
Cambodia (Koh
  Tang Islands             1975         2        --      --          --
Grenada                    1983        --                 3           1
Lebanon                    1983        --         1      --          --
Honduras              1984,1991        --        --      --           4
Libya                      1986         2        --      --          --
Panama                     1989        --        --      --           2
Persian Gulf
War                        1991        20         6       3          15
Peru                       1992         1        --      --          --
Somalia                    1993        --        --      --           5
Afghanistan                2002        --        --      --           1
Iraq                       2003         2        --      --          --

Total                              56,125     4,677   1,256       1,880

Note: This chart includes both fixed-wing and helicopter crew members.
Coast Guard losses are included under the Navy. In WWI, the Army
aviation arm was called the Air Service and during WWII the Army Air
Forces (the Air Corps became a subordinate element June 20,1941).

(1) Rough estimate. Approximately 85 aviators of the Naval Air Service
died overseas during WWI--55% in France. But a KIA breakdown was not
available.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:aviation casualties in US Armed Forces since 1917
Publication:VFW Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:376
Previous Article:Repaying the debt: a sense of guilt pervades many males of "Generation X" for putting self-interest above public service.
Next Article:Afghanistan: the 'forgotten war': U.S. troops pounded Taliban rebels in southeastern Afghanistan as their numbers swelled and their attacks grew...
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters