Reflections on Holidays Far From Home, 1944 and 2020.

A Snowman Built at Shipdham Airbase during the Winter of 1944. (Source: Wings Remembered, Will Lundy)

For the first time in my 29 years, I won’t spend Christmas in the snow-capped mountains of Idaho, and my parents didn’t make their customary trip to Nashville for Thanksgiving.

It has been 300 days since I’ve seen my mom and dad. I’ve never gone longer. But there’s no safe way to make the 2,000 mile journey between us. Believe me, I tried to engineer a way, but neither a private plane nor a thirty-hour drive proved both feasible and safe.

As the holidays loom and COVID-19 rears its ugly head, I miss my family, but I worry more about…


New Glimpses into the Daily Lives of American Airmen in England During WWII

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, the United States began growing and mobilizing the nascent Army Air Force for war.

In mid-1942, the 8th Air Force’s “friendly invasion” of England began. By D-Day two years later, over 200,000 men of the 8th Air Force called England home base.

From 200 newly erected airbases in England, American flyboys launched bombing raids into Hitler’s Fortress Europe to break the back of the German war machine. Their goal was to liberate a foreign people and bring an end to the Nazi regime.

Such lofty aims meant there was no reprieve from war. Holidays…


Wartime Life in England in Pursuit of Victory

May 8, 2020 marks 75 years since war in Europe ended in World War II. On the same date in 1945, V-E day celebrations were raucous after six years of prolonged war.

Commemorating the end of the war in Europe means remembering the men who fought it and the reality of their wartime lives.

We stand alone together” has come to define the ethos of the Greatest Generation’s WWII fight.

Today, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, “we stand together alone” captures the ethos of a very different war, one that can only be won by staying apart.

The only analogy to…


Shot down in Nazi Germany & taken prisoner in the war’s final act, he lost his crew, but not his humanity. Silently, he lived with the memory of war until a phone call revealed video footage of his crew’s B-24 crash.

At the Planes of Fame Museum, Bob Vance looking on at a tribute to his WWII crew. (Source: Author)

August 15, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of WWII’s end — V-J Day.

Bob Vance is 96-years-old. He has called Ontario, California home since 1946 and has attended the same Methodist church for 75 years. On a quiet cul de sac framed by the San Gabriel Mountains, Bob opens the door of his mid-century ranch wearing a sky-blue button down tucked into khakis.

A pen rests in his breast pocket at all times. He is tall, trim, and exudes a professionalism and vigor atypical of his age. He keeps a neat, snowy mustache.

(In case you are wondering — he…


75 Years After V-E Day, Leveraging Big Data, Analytics, & Data Visualization to Illuminate the Past

On May 8th, 1945, World War II ended in Europe after five protracted years of battle.

In the 75 years since, little has gone unsaid of WWII. The war’s broad strokes have been hashed and rehashed.

Yet, at the intersection of data science and history is the potential to unearth new histories of WWII that couldn’t have been told until today.

Two years ago, I dreamed up the idea to build an interactive dashboard to tell the story of an Army Air Force combat group during WWII using big data.

Wallace B. Truslow

Behind the dashboard was my own family’s story: my grandfather…


What it Takes to be Productive & Mentally Healthy while Working from Home

Photo by Grovemade on Unsplash
Photo by Grovemade on Unsplash
Photo by Grovemade on Unsplash

The debate over remote work has been smoldering for decades. Coronavirus, and the necessity of flattening the curve, has led to its explosion.

21st-century technology tools have long made it possible for jobs to be location-agnostic, but workers have remained tethered to their cubicles — until now.

As it has become clear that flattening the curve is an imperative, offices have shuttered and the future of remote work has begun globally. Social distancing has revealed a robust technology infrastructure that makes remote work not only possible, but effective.

With remote work becoming the status quo, learning to live and work…


Using Big Data to Uncover the 75-Year-Old History of a B-24 Crew’s Heroic Service Taken to the Grave

Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash

Before I dig deeply into how I pieced together the story of my grandfather’s fight against the Third Reich in the skies of Europe and the research I’m chasing during sabbatical, I want to lay the foundation of the strategic daylight bombing offensive in Europe and formally introduce you to the protagonist of this research.

The Mighty Eighth Air Force Bomber Command

Mara Truslow

Human Capital Research & Analytics Consultant by Day| Telling the Story of WWII Bomber Boys by Night | Using Big Data to Stories of WWII Lost to Time

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