How a ‘Flying Jug’ Symbolized US Airpower in WWII

Toward the end of the 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan,” American soldiers played by actors Matt Damon and Tom Hanks witness U.S. fighter aircraft swooping to their rescue. “They’re P-51s, sir, tank busters!” Damon exclaims. In reality, the fighter aircraft swooping to the rescue of embattled U.S. infantrymen would more likely have been the P-47 Thunderbolt, a stocky aircraft with the unflattering nickname of the “flying jug.” During the aircraft’s 75th anniversary, it’s worth remembering how

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