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The Lt. Col. Jack Bradley Collection, no. 1 - Airfield and Gun Camera Footage

Jack Bradley

Silent | 1943-1945

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  •  Lt. Col. Jack Bradley's squadron was ranked first in WWII with 701 confirmed enemies destroyed in aerial combat, of which 15 were attributed to Bradley, who ranked third overall in his squadron. For his service Lt. Col. Jack Bradley was awarded The Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross, in 1999 he was inducted into the American Combat Airmen's Hall of Fame. 
 
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This film contains a mixture of images captured by Lt. Col. Jack Bradley's gun camera as well as images of the squadron on the ground at an airfield, possibly filmed by Bradley. Footage of daily activity at the airfield includes men of the squadron checking their planes, swiveling about on an anti aircraft gun, and one fellow receiving a haircut. Gun camera footage shows Lt. Col. Bradley engaged in a number of strafing runs, images of the squadron flying and shots of the planes taking off and landing.

Lt. Col. Jack T. Bradley was born and raised in the north central Texas town of Brownwood. While attending Howard Payne College he joined the Civilian Pilot training program, and in 1941 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps Cadet program in Dallas. From fall, 1942 to May, 1945, he served in the 353 Squadron, 354 Fighter Group, piloting a P-51 Mustang fighter plane in the European theater of WWII. After a twenty-year distinguished military career, Lt. Col. Bradley retired in Brownwood, TX.

Images of Lt. Col. Bradley and his squadron were captured by "gun cameras" affixed to the wings of their planes and set to start filming when the pilot fired. Surviving footage provides an excellent view of the maneuvers performed by the planes on which they were mounted, though the vibration created by the guns often resulted in poor image quality.