The Mighty D8a Project

Under the direction of the Heritage League of the Second Air Division – USAAF, a database development effort called the “Mighty D8a Project” (D8a is read as Data) is underway. The scope of this project is huge in that missions and personnel information from some forty (40) bomb groups of the Eighth Air Force’s three bomb divisions will be searchable and can be displayed. Information like who flew with what crew on a certain mission; the target they were sent to bomb; information on the aircraft itself; transfer orders, awards and decorations for the individuals amd much more will be available.

The concept for this project came after reviewing the design for the 445th Bomb Group’s database. While this was a simplistic approach, the amount of information that could be displayed surprised even the designer. With help from a more experienced database developer, a change in the schema was considered and a new format was developed, but for only the fourteen bomb groups that made up the Second Air Division (2AD). Shortly after the start of 2015, an idea started growing – if we can do this with the 2AD bomb groups, why not open it up to include the First and Third Air Divisions also. That would make up the entire Eighth Air Force. We would also include the Fighter Groups assigned to each of the Air Divisions.

Conceptualization started by trying to figure out how to uniquely identify a person. The first thought was for serial numbers. Not all sources of information contain an individual’s serial number. It’s recently been found that the unit rosters and morning reports (daily activities with a unit concerning personnel) are available from the National Archives at St Louis (also known as the Military Personnel Records Center).