Section One

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Combat America
Clark Gable
Unidentified artist for the U.S. Treasury Department, 1944

U.S. Treasury Department posters often featured prominent faces to promote war bond drives. In 1942, devastated by the death of his wife, Carole Lombard, in a plane crash, film star Clark Gable joined the U.S. Army Air Force. Attached to a heavy bombardment group and assigned to procure footage for recruitment films, Gable flew on numerous bombing missions with such a tolerance for risk that some considered it a death wish.

After six months, having earned a Distinguished Flying Cross and other honors, he was sent home along with his crew. Their extensive combat footage resulted in four short films and one major feature, Combat America, which was used for training and shown in clubs and factories during the war. Although Gable was determined to do more than entertain, he understood the value of using his famous face to support the war effort at home.