B-1 Lancer, F-15 Eagles and F-35B Fly Formation to Say Happy Birthday to the Mighty Eighth

On January 19, 1942, shortly after the United States entered the Second World War, the VIII Bomber Command came to be at Langley Field, Virginia. The unit is now known as the Eighth Air Force, and it just celebrated its 80th anniversary.
B-1 Lancer, F-15 Eagles and F-35B in flight for the Eighth Air Force 13 photos
Photo: RAF/Corporal Alex Scott
B-1B Lancers en route to Super Bowl LV flyoverB-1B Lancer landing at Naval Support Facility Diego GarciaB-1B Lancer over the Persian GulfB-1B Lancer taking off from UK baseB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B Lancer at Edwards Air Force Base
Now headquartered at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, the 8th describes itself as a group tasked with conducting “indefinite strategic deterrence operations,” as it is “on order [to] neutralize the enemy through global strike in order to protect the United States of America.”

Before getting here though, it managed to go down in history through several achievements. During the war years, it was “the greatest air armada in history,” with over 200,000 people enrolled. They tended to 2,000 four-engine bombers and 1,000 fighters, all of which could be deployed at once for a single mission, if need be.

It is because of this massive punch it packed that the Eighth Air Force became known to the world as the Mighty Eighth. It was involved in all the major operations over Europe, and that had its toll: the Eight accounted for half of all the Air Force’s casualties there, including 26,000 dead. It lost 5,100 aircraft, but also achieved a double number of victories.

The valor of the airmen deployed with this unit was recognized with 17 Medals of Honor, 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 442,000 Air Medals. 566 aces served with it, fighting together with the others in a total of 440,000 bomber sorties.

As it turned 80, the American and British Air Forces decided to honor the air army with a dedicated formation. The flight took place over Duxford, England, in early February, and it involved a B-1 Lancer, two F-15 Eagles, and an F-35B.

The main photo of this piece, released by the USAF at the end of last week, shows the four planes during their Happy Birthday flight.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other B-1 bombers.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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