Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor in History

Date of Award

Fall 12-3-2014


From the late 1930’s to the final moments of 1941, ordinary citizens of the United States witnessed the illusion of an isolated nation shatter with the global presence of Axis Nations. The U.S. took the initiative in eliminating international threats before they reached U.S. borders, resulting in everyday men and women having to learn about war along the way with usually little to no experience. Scholars who study war and memory face the challenge to capture the entirety and significance of a veteran’s experience, even those of the family members. Though the sacrifice demanded much, memories fade or are suppressed; worse, scholars and media focus only on the war’s outcome and not the lasting effects of the conflict. Historian Susan Brewer argued that propaganda distorted the goings-on of World War II in favor of its alleged noble cause, leaving subsequent generations with inadequate information necessary to assess the war and its effects. The focus on unlocking these unexplored aspects of war then turns to the experiences of the men and women who served. Richard Clement is one of those faces. Born in Bay City, Texas, Clement served as a first generation celestial navigator in the United States Army Air Corps in the North African and European theaters during World War II. He then returned to the United States, where he adapted to the ever-changing technology of the Air Force during the early years of the Cold War era. Avoiding injury and death on multiple occasions, Major Clement learned from his experiences so that he could one day pass that information to a new generation of navigators, thus helping to blaze a trail for the future of the Air Force.


Eric Gruver

Included in

History Commons