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Samurai Survivor – Zero ace Saburo Sakai

The Commemorative Air Force’s iconic A6M3 Zero flies above the hills of Camarillo, California. A true combat survivor, it was recovered from Babo, New Guinea in 1991 and later restored to flying condition. Originally powered by a Nakajima Sakae 12 engine, it now has a Pratt & Whitney R1830. Interestingly, P&W had contracts with several Japanese manufacturers and some early fighters were in fact powered with these engines! This later, long-range model has extended wings and folding wingtips. (Photo by John Dibbs/
Saburo Sakai was a samurai, tracing his warrior-caste linage back to sword-swinging feudal forebears who had invaded Korea in the 16th century. Raised on a small farm near the city of Saga, Japan, he learned to scorn money and to endure resultant poverty rather than stooping to accepting servitude in exchange for currency. His family still proudly wore the twin sabers-emblazoned emblem of the abolished samurai order, and stoically, pridefully endured the harshness of their...


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