For over a decade, the Flying Heritage Collection and Vulcan Productions have captured and told the amazing life stories of combat pilots and soldiers in long-form interviews on tape, DVD, and digitally. As the pieces of media went onto an archive shelf, more than once, someone asked, “What are you going to do with all these?”
Well, on December 7, 2016, exactly 75 years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that catapulted America into World War II, the world can now see these ground-breaking interviews in their entirety. Chronicles of Courage is the largest project of its kind in the world. The ambitious endeavor was initiated as Paul Allen began to hear about the passing of famous wartime pilots. He then asked what could be done to capture and keep the stories of fliers, soldiers, and sailors before they were gone. Then Chronicles of Courage was born.
Some of the members of the team working on the project stayed close to home, conducting interviews at the Flying Heritage Collection. But others scoured the globe to find men and women from Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Russia, and beyond. In all, researchers conducted over 340 long-form interviews with airmen, medics, tankers, gun crews, and wartime survivors. The entire collection is now available to everyone – translated, digitized, and searchable, at: FlyingHeritage.com/chronicles
There you can hear and see the stories of famous aces, Doolittle Raiders, fliers from Pearl Harbor, Prisoners of War, and female combat pilots. Just as the Allen Brain Institute dedicated much-needed manpower, resources, and time to mapping the human brain, the Chronicles of Courage project allows the experiences of these amazing men and women to live on forever. The goal? That their courage and sacrifices are never forgotten.
Already, the project is proving to be a rich resource for journalists. NBC Learn, in conjunction with Vulcan Productions, has created ten short educational videos that use the Chronicles of Courage interviews as the basis to teach technical concepts and address social issues. These “shorts” are serving as a learning tool for students, teachers, and researchers. They can be seen at NBCLearn.com/Courage (Ten more videos are set to follow in early 2017).
What’s next? Chronicles of Courage will live on. In the future, team members will focus on those who served in later wars—Vietnam and Korea and beyond —as well as aerospace engineers.
Most importantly, the project will continue to grow and thrive as a living testament to all those who served.