Thought I would come in for a quick intro, but maybe it won't be so quick.
The RL first name is Pat, although I usually go by "O'Donovan" or "Irish" online (South Chicago Irish, btw). I'll be 60, later this year. Most of my toys, growing up in the late '50s into the '60s were WWII related. I had them all, but always seemed to gravitate to the aircraft. While other kids my age were playing with rockets and such, I was blowing imaginary Stukas, 109s, and 190s out of the sky. This isn't to say I didn't like technology. I've been a lifelong tech geek, loved science and science fiction, but it always took a second place to my planes, tanks, and army men, and to stories about WWII. I loved them, whether they be books, movies, or TV shows (12 O'Clock High, Combat, Rat Patrol, to name a few). My father never understood. He was a Navy veteran from WWI and here I was interested in WWII. Go figure.
I'd been interested in the Eighth Air Force for quite a while, but my adult interest really started a number of years ago when I met Hess Bomberger, a former 356th FG pilot. It was at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, in Lakeland, FL, where I lived. Hess flew his P-51 "Vergeltungswaffe" to air shows around the country. I found myself more interested in the history of the "Blue Diamonds" or "Martlesham Playboys" (depending who you ask) of the 356th, but LittleFriends.com and Joe Baugher's website became frequent sites for my browsing, from the earliest days of their existence. I got heavily into stories about the Eagle Squadrons, Zemke's Wolfpack, Bluenosers, Yoxford Boys, and even "other groups" such as the Checkertails in North Africa and the Mediterranean. When the TV series "Dogfights" came out, I was in heaven.
Then, one fateful day, I was on YouTube and saw a link to "Virtual War," the Polish HBO documentary about online flight simming. Now, I had flown a bit in sims, but this was far beyond my experience level. I was hooked and watched it three times or so over the next couple weeks, even though there was very little of it in English and no English subtitles. Shortly thereafter, I found the website for one of the groups in the show, the 352nd VFG (virtual fighter group) headed by Deacon and Persecutor. I've been in touch with them ever since, and have happily moved the Bluenosed *ahem* well, you know...Boys to the top of my list of obsessions. So, here I am.
If I'm not websurfing, you can frequently find me ingame in Battleground Europe: World War II Online. Yeah, the graphics are dated, but the folks who run the game have finally got some funding and have started updating and cleaning up the code. It's getting better all the time, and it's SERIOUSLY addictive.
I hope I can, in some way, contribute to keeping the memory of "The Greatest Generation" alive, and specifically the memory of the 8th AF and 352nd FG. If there is any question posted which I've researched, I'll chime in with an answer and my sources. If I haven't researched it, I'll give it a go. My wife is not always thrilled with my midnight marathons of learning, when I get on a research binge, but I don't drink, smoke, or chase other women, so I think she'll get over it. I'd like to thank everyone on this website for feeding into my obsession.