Airmen Without Portfolio: U.S. Mercenaries in Civil War Spain

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9780275957421: Airmen Without Portfolio: U.S. Mercenaries in Civil War Spain

Published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, this work chronicles the lives and military careers of 12 American mercenary pilots who flew for the Spanish Republican government against the combined air forces of Nationalist Spain, Italy, and Germany. Drawing upon the memoirs of these aviators and appropriate secondary scholarship, the author examines each U.S. flyer's political and personal motivation for opposing Fascism as the world prepared for World War II. His findings are as surprising as they are varied. This book also offers an insightful glimpse into the day-to-day lives of these airmen at the squadron level during their eight month tour in Spain. It describes their interaction with their Spanish and Russian comrades, the types of aircraft they flew, the skill and resourcefulness of the enemy pilots they dogfought, the international repercussions of their presence abroad, and the hostile treatment they would incur from their own government.

The preface affords a brief discussion of the role of U.S. aerial mercenaries from the early 20th century to the Spanish Civil War. Aside from its primary purpose as a study of the motivation and commitment of the U.S. aviators in the Spanish Civil War, the work chronicles the events leading to the outbreak of hostilities in Spain and the arrival of the foreign volunteers; the combat roles of Frank Tinker and his American comrades from January-July, 1937; Tinker's return to the United States in August, 1937 and a concise discussion of the remainder of the conflict; Tinker's suicide in Little Rock, Arkansas in June, 1939; and a final review of the postwar careers of his squadronmates.

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About the Author:

JOHN CARVER EDWARDS is a Special Projects Archivist at the University of Georgia. He has authored dozens of historical articles and two books, Patriots in Pinstripe: Men of the National Security League (1981) and Berlin Calling: American Broadcasters in Service to the Third Reich (Praeger, 1991).

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