George McGovern: Introduction (01:19)
McGovern, the son of a preacher, grew up in South Dakota and volunteered for pilot training; he flew dangerous missions during WWII. After the war, he became a U.S. senator, and in 1972, was the Democratic Party presidential nominee.
McGovern's Early Years (04:08)
McGovern was born in 1922 in South Dakota; he recalls being poor and admiring Charles Lindbergh. A comment by McGovern's gym teacher nurtured a fear that he was a coward and McGovern joined a pilot training program to prove otherwise.
Military Start (03:50)
McGovern recalls learning about the attack on Pearl Harbor and enlisting in the Army Air Corps. He got engaged to Eleanor Stegeberg while waiting for his call to duty and married at the end of primary training.
Bomber Pilot (03:01)
McGovern earned his pilot wings and decided to fly B-24s; Tara Engel discusses his approach to flying. McGovern arrived in Italy in 1944 and flew his first combat mission as a co-pilot. He had to complete 35 missions as a pilot before returning home.
Combat Missions (03:26)
McGovern reunited with his crew and embarked on his first mission as pilot to Austria; his father died a week later. McGovern recalls his seventh mission and focusing on winning.
Significant Missions (04:25)
On a mission to Czechoslovakia, a 500lb bomb lodged in the bay of McGovern's plane and broke free over an Austrian farm; his daughter was born the same day. Engel and his crew reached the 35 mission benchmark; it was the worst mission for the men.
Post-war Career (02:37)
McGovern returned to college with the G.I. Bill and entered politics. His daughter, a staunch supporter of her father, died of alcoholism. McGovern eventually shared the story of the lodged bomb on German television and how much it tormented him.
Credits: Legends of Air Power: George McGovern (00:29)
Credits: Legends of Air Power: George McGovern
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