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Snapshot: Flexible Gunnery School

Snapshot: Flexible Gunnery School

At its height, the U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) comprised more than 2.4 million men and women, and its operations spanned from 1941 to 1947. As the need for combat aviation grew, the AAF trained more than 300,000 defensive aviation gunners. Buckingham Army Airfield, located 10 miles east of Fort Myers, Fla., became the first of the Flexible Gunnery schools, and by 1943 it had developed an intensive, five-week firearm training course that was used to certify Flexible Gunnery Instructors. Students of the Flexible Gunnery School were taught advanced techniques for the use of shoulder-fired arms and machine guns. The accompanying photo came from the Public Relations Office of the Buckingham Army Airfield, and was authorized for publication by the War Dept. in Washington, D.C. It depicts a Marine student of the Buckingham Army Airfield Flexible Gunnery School using a Mirror Sighting Device in conjunction with a Springfield M1903, just one of the unique techniques the gunnery school was known to use. The ’03 rifle was still in service with the U.S. Army Air Forces at the time.

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