The REAL ‘Masters of the Air’ | Bloody Hundredth Co-pilot on Air Combat | 8th Air Force | John Clark

The REAL ‘Masters of the Air’

John Clark was born into a generation captivated by air travel. As a child he would build model airplanes and dream of one day taking to the skies. Following America’s entry into World War II, Clark knew that he wanted to take the fight directly to Germany’s doorstep and enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1942.

Clark would find himself a co-pilot aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress in the 100th Bomb Group, famously known as the “Bloody Hundredth” due to the amount of casualties the unit saw. Decades later, the outfit would gain acclaim for its portrayal in the television miniseries, Masters of the Air. Clark would survive 32 harrowing bombing missions over Germany, flying at 28,000 feet amidst enemy flak and fighter planes.

Prior to shipping to Europe, Clark was assigned to Las Vegas Army Airfield as a co-pilot trainee. At the officers’ club on his first night there, he spotted a young woman in uniform – Marie Mountain – an aviator with the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, better known as the WASPs, whose job was to help train the bomber crews in fighting off enemy fighters. Immediately smitten, John and Marie dated during his brief time at Las Vegas – and would marry upon his return home after the war, July 1945. They were married for 63 years, until her passing in 2008.

Interview recorded on December 18, 2023
Credit to : American Veterans Center

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