Vintage Fighter Aircraft in Missing Man Formation Is the Proper Nod to Those Lost in WWII

WWII aircraft flying Missing Man formation in honor of the Doolittle Raiders 11 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Amanda Flower-Rasc
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This week is an important one for the entire world. It is the week when we celebrate the end of the Second World War in Europe, the place where it started, after Allied forces accepted Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945.
As such, various celebrations have been (and are in the process of being) held across the continent, with the biggest display of military might currently taking place in Moscow.

But the end of the fighting over in Europe did not mean the war didn’t drag on for several more months in the Pacific. America battled Japan until September that same year, so it’s kind of difficult to celebrate the end of the war in a unified way.

Somewhat overlapping with the end-of-the-war celebrations in Europe, America marked last month the 80th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. That was a mission at the onset of the country’s involvement in the conflagration, the first raid directed at the Japanese archipelago in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack.

To properly mark the moment, a number of historic World War II aircraft flew in mid-April over the Okaloosa Island, in Florida, including in something called a Missing Man formation. That’s how military aviators call the aerial salute that usually occurs during a funeral or memorial event, with the planes flying with a space left between them, to signify the absent pilot from the ranks.

Although this particular lineup, the final formation in the larger flyover that took place at the time, was meant to honor the Doolittle Raiders, given all the things presently going on in Europe we find it fitting to feature it today in our Photo of the Day section.

That’s because now, just like it happened eight decades ago, people are dying in wars the magnitude of which we never thought possible in the present day.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows the B-24 Liberator.

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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