Flights of Remembrance

Of all the items in Syd Beck's military and aviation collection, his favorite is a P-39 Airacobra. Back in April 1942, Beck says, it landed in New Guinea with four other brand-new P-39s, all emblazoned with the U.S. Army Air Force insignia, a blue circle containing a white star with a red dot at the center. The Australians on the ground were aghast: Japanese aircraft were marked with a red dot. An Australian officer immediately ordered all of the dots painted over. (Soon after, the red dot was removed from standard U.S. markings.)

There's...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!