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Squadron of the Dead. The Squadron of the Dead were created by Frederick C. Painton (Justin Blake, Captain Lancing Colt, Barney Dall, Gary Galt, Duffy Kildare, Joel Quaite, Jason Wyatt) and appeared in eight stories in War Birds and Sky Birds in 1934 and 1935, beginning with “They Die To Live” (War Birds, Sept. 1934).
The Squardron of the Dead are a group of aviators who fight the Germans during World War One. The Squadron is
a place where lives are cheaper than this cigarette, and as quickly consumed...the Squadron of the Dead is actively employed by G-2A, the Air Intelligence of the Supreme Allied War Council, and orders reach us through the American Wing. As for the orders...you can take it that we are sent on what are called forlorn hopes. By that I mean dangerous missions for which no man having the slightest regard for his life would volunteer, missions far too desperate in their hazards for men to be ordered to execute them. We carry out freak ideas. We drop spies. We bomb the farthest points, where bombers have the least chance to return. We do the hazardous ground-strafing. We are actively in espionage work...as for our personnel, it is composed of men...who have earned death by military offenses. There are also men who seek death for reasons of their own–and find it quickly enough. We receive men from the Poles, the Czechs, the British, the French, a Belgian or so, and on occasion a Rumanian. We have even had Russian and Germans and one Austrian.
They are commanded by the slim, cool Barry Dale, a.k.a. “The Skipper.” The men of the Squadron do not wear the
habitual olive drab. Their uniforms were jet black with red piping at shoulderstraps and sleeve, and a red stripe down the side of their flared breeches. They wore black polished boots. On their right breast instead of left, they wore brightly polished copper wings. Between the two wings, so that they seemed to sprout out of it, was a round skull with the eye sockets, the nose cavity and the grinning teeth cleverly picked out with red thread.
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