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The Story of The Writing 69th
In February of 1943, eight civilian and military journalists took part in a training program sponsored by the United States Eighth Air Force. The goal was to prepare the men to accompany a high-altitude bombing mission against Germany. The eight men were Homer Bigart of the New York Herald Tribune, Walter Cronkite of the United Press, Gladwin Hill of the Associated Press, Paul Manning of CBS Radio, Robert Post of the New York Times, Andy Rooney of the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, Denton Scott of the military magazine Yank, and William Wade of INS (the International News Service).
Originally called the Flying Typewriters or the Legion of the Doomed, the reporters later took the name The Writing 69th. (This play on words is a reference to the famous Fighting 69th, which had fought in every war since the American Revolution). In a week-long training course at Bovingdon, England, The Writing 69th learned how to adjust to high altitude, identify enemy planes, and parachute. They even trained to shoot weapons, although it was forbidden for non-combatants to do so in combat.
They might have flown numerous missions with the 8th Air Force, but a tragedy on their very first mission put an end to that.

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