By Wanda Langley
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The planes dropped paratroopers behind enemy lines, allowing them to capture key bridges and flank the enemy. Many paratroopers were killed. Despite great loss of life, the assault was successful and the Allies pressed on through Europe. Germany finally surrendered on May 8, 1945. Japan continued fighting until Air Force B-29s dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Officially, World War II ended on August 14, 1945. During this global war, out of the 2,244,000 Army Air Force personnel who served, 52,153 were killed.
61 ★ The Air Force in Action sports teams are called the Falcons, named after the Air Force Academy mascot. The Academy has high academic standards. The first two years, cadets take the required core curriculum, which includes English, history, biology, math, physics, foreign languages, and aeronautical and astronautical engineering. At the junior level, each cadet selects one from among the thirty-one major courses of study available. Third-class cadets (those in their sophomore year) can participate in the Academy’s Soaring Program.
They occupied most of South Vietnam, and the United States became committed to stopping them. In 1962, the Air Force launched the controversial Operation Ranch Hand, which dropped herbicides to ★ 39 ★ The Air Force in Action Lieutenant Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. (1930– ) Fighter Pilot, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was the second man to set foot on the moon. He and Neil Armstrong landed on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. Aldrin also piloted the 1966 Gemini 12 space flight, in which he “walked” in space for five and a half hours.