World War II Eighth Air Force veterans to share stories of combat service

October 30, 2015

The University Libraries will hold a special panel discussion featuring distinguished veterans of the U.S. Army Eighth Air Force, at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. The speakers will share stories and experiences of their World War II combat service and base life overseas. This event is free and open to the public.

Following the discussion, there will be an open house in the Eighth Air Force Room, located within the Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library. In addition, recently acquired vintage World War II U.S. Army Air Force recruitment posters will be on display.

The Eighth Air Force was organized Jan. 28, 1942. Dedicated to the strategic bombing of Germany, the Eighth Air Force's daylight strikes and the Royal Air Force's night bombardment led to the dislocation and destruction of Germany's infrastructure and economy. The Eighth Air Force Archive was created by James Hill, editor of the 8th AF News, in 1990. In 1998, donors Sherry Petska Middlemas and George Middlemas Jr. established the Albert M. Petska Libraries Endowment to honor the memory of their fathers, both Air Force veterans. Albert M. Petska served in the 8th Air Force, and George M. Middlemas Sr. served in the 15th Air Force. Today, the Eighth Air Force Memorial Museum Foundation coordinates the acquisition and transfer of historical materials from veterans to the archive at Penn State.

The Eighth Air Force Archive contains books, photographs, more than 500 audio-visual materials, oversize graphic materials, artifacts, memorabilia, microfilm, and organizational records donated by veterans and their families. The collection is open to both researchers and the public.

The Special Collections Library awards annual travel grants for researchers to visit Penn State to use the collections. This year’s recipient of the Albert M. Petska Eighth Air Force Archive Award was David Cain from the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library and the University of East Anglia in England, who used materials from the collection for his research on the social interaction between the Eighth Air Force service persons and local people in Britain.

If you anticipate needing accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact James Quigel at or 814-863-3181 in advance of your visit.

Last Updated November 17, 2015