"We cranked up and squared off," recalled Brigadier General William L. ("Jerry") Lee. "I poured the coal on and, about halfway up the sod incline, decided to let the flaps down to get more lift. I got off the ground all right . . . but I couldn't get enough altitude to get over the hill at the end of the strip." Lee was a lieutenant at the time, on duty in the Philippines.

He turned to the passenger beside him and said: "We ain't going to make it." The passenger, a balding...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


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

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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