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Ira Clarence Eaker


Commanding General of 8th AF 1 December 1942 to 5 January 1944. Following that, Eaker was given command of all Allied air forces in the MTO, and in April 1945 became Deputy CG of the USAAF. Retired July 1947.

Ira Eaker became a pilot in 1918. As a general, he was the Eighth Air Force’s first commander. From February 1942 he faced the difficult task of beginning the bombing campaign against Germany, working with his British allies. Eaker believed that bombing would shorten the war and save lives: ‘I would be certain,’ he said after the war, ‘that if we had not had strategic bombing... perhaps a million men would have died that lived through that struggle.’ In January 1944 he moved to take overall command of Allied air power in the Mediterranean. He became Deputy Commanding General of the USAAF in 1945, retiring two years later.

General Eaker commanded United States Army Air Forces in Britain and the Mediterranean. In 1944, his job was to help ensure victory in Italy and Southern France. His aircraft and crews had to support the troops on the ground and stop the German army from reinforcing their positions. Targets included road bridges like the one at Pont-Saint-Martin. If he had failed in his job, there could have been thousands more Allied casualties, and the plan to liberate Southern Europe could have ended in disaster. Eaker was keenly aware of the consequences of his decisions, and of the realities of the situations his aircrews faced: ‘Nobody who fires a gun hits the target every time and we were learning as we went; we had limited resources and I think my crews did the best job possible under the circumstances.’



  • Asa Duncan

    Military | Brigadier General | 8th Air Force Chief of Staff
    En route to Maison Blanche, via Gibraltar on 17 November 1942, with Clark Garber, Co-pilot: Josh Kaplan, Navigator: John Roysden, Bombardier: Les Birleson*, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Welcome Talbot, Radio Operator: Paul Padgett, Ball turret...

  • Arthur Vanaman

    Military | Major General | Command Pilot, Combat Observer, A-2 Berlin 1938-41, AWPD-42 Secretary of Air, Ultra-cleared, POW | 379th Bomb Group
    Hazebruck, France (marshalling yards) 27 June 1944 mission. 'Big Barn Smell,' had #4 engine on fire, four of the crew bailed out by order of the pilot and the remainder of the crew stayed with the Ship. The flames went out and the ship landed safely in...

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Units served with


Associated Place


Event Location Date
Born Field Creek, Texas 13 April 1896
Commissioned 15 August 1917


Died Prince George's County, MD, USA 6 August 1987

Camp Springs, Prince George's County, Maryland



Date Contributor Update
14 August 2018 09:50:09 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography

American Air Museum text from displays.

Date Contributor Update
15 April 2018 18:09:44 jmoore43 Changes to awards

Find-A-Grave memorial # 6634056

Date Contributor Update
15 April 2018 17:58:45 jmoore43 Changes to events

Data from Find-A-Grave memorial # 6634056

Date Contributor Update
17 June 2015 03:05:32 bombercommand Changes to events


Date Contributor Update
17 June 2015 02:12:13 bombercommand Changes to person associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:13:27 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / The Mighty Eighth by Roger Freeman