As we reflect on Pearl Harbor Day, here’s something to keep in mind: The “men” who fought and died for the United States in World War II, were just barely out of adolescence, as young as 18 years old—the same age as guys obsessed with “Maxim” and Grand Theft Auto today. The WWII flight jackets painted with provocative pin-up girls, favorite comic characters, or lucky charms are a reminder of just how young these servicemen were.
Lt. Ken Strong, who’d been an artist for Walt Disney, created the Pacific Islander character Asterperious for the 319th Bomb Squadron. The jolly roger with cross-bombs was the insignia for the 90th Bomb Group. From the collection of Jeff Spielberg.