A bit of Memorial Day perspective from Mark Wells, a historian at the U.S. Air Force Academy, from his excellent 1995 book Courage and Air Warfare: The Allied Aircrew Experience in the Second World War:
However dramatic or tragic, statistics alone cannot possibly tell the whole story of the Allied air offensive. The air war over Europe was not won merely by the number of sorties generated, bomb totals, targets destroyed or victory tallies in air-to-air combat. Although this was a war which employed scientific and technical means to a greater extent than had ever been seen previously, its results nevertheless still rested on the individual courage, stamina and determination of thousands of men and women. These were the human qualities, above all others, that air war seemed to demand.More than 45,000 members of the U.S. Army Air Corps were killed in action during World War 2. Here's the story of one of them, from our Oct/Nov 1995 issue.