In the darkest days of World War II, England was losing planes and pilots quicker than they could be replaced.Building a new arsenal under the daily pounding of the German blitz or training new pilots was expensive and increasingly dangerous.
As Britain looked to America for assistance the official stance of neutrality an kept the Allies from helping openly but it didn’t stop Roosevelt and Churchill from cooking up a ‘Lend-Lease’ scheme that would send US Dollars and military equipment to England. A little-known side deal would also send 1000’s of young Brits to the safer skies of America for pilot training.
Patriot Skies is a narrative documentary about the journey of the RAF Cadets, the activities of the civilian-run U.S. Army Air Corps in some of the most unlikely war theaters. Our film highlights Mesa, Arizona, a hellishly, hot spot of desert where many British Royal Air Force Cadets arrived by the thousands for flight training beginning in 1941. Their one goal - earn their wings and return home to fight the German Luftwaffe!
These were seventeen-year-old boys who had finished ground school in England and within days were being taught to pilot a Stearman. A full 30% washed out and were sent back home. The very talented progressed to the single-winged fighter trainers and became Bomber or Fighter pilots over Europe.
Over half of the RAF’s young pilots died in the War, sadly some never even made it out of Arizona.
While the program fed England with thousands of pilots, it also sent many to the grave in the U.S. Those men, to this day, have never been forgotten by their comrades or their families. (Please watch our video of their memorial on this page)
This film is a tribute to them and the men who came up with such an audacious and ambitious plan to defeat Germany.
Patriot Skies features personal interviews with surviving octogenarians and nonagenarians who came to America to train along with:
“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”