‘Masters of the Air’ exclusive screening proves the series will be a flying success

Tessa Robinson
Jan 26, 2024 11:45 AM PST
3 minute read
Audience watches "Masters of the Air" at a USAA exclusive screening event for the military community. August Dannehl/WATM

Audience watches “Masters of the Air” at a USAA exclusive screening event for the military community. August Dannehl/WATM

SUMMARY

“Masters of the Air” is a gripping, nine-part series produced by the same team who brought us “Band of Brothers.” USAA hosted a special event to preview the new show.

On January 19, 2024, USAA welcomed 225 lucky viewers from the military community to a special screening of the new Apple original series, Masters of the Air, at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. Viewers included military spouses, ROTC students, reservists and service members representing every branch. Despite their different backgrounds, the attendees’ responses to the screening were the same: Wow.

Service members and military community members gather at the World War II Museum in New Orleans for an exclusive screening of Masters of the Air. Photo: Matt VanEck for We Are The Mighty.

Masters of the Air follows the true story of an American bomber squadron in World War II that brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. Described as a follow-up to Band of Brothers and The Pacific, their story will portray “individual excellence, but more importantly, the willingness to look out for their fellow service members,” a message at the heart of USAA’s mission and purpose. Masters of the Air’s official synopsis is, “Based on Donald L. Miller’s book of the same name, and scripted by John Orloff (Band of Brothers), Masters of the Air follows the men of the 100th Bomb Group as they conduct perilous bombing raids over Nazi Germany and grapple with the frigid conditions, lack of oxygen, and sheer terror of combat conducted at 25,000 feet in the air. The psychological and emotional price paid by these young men as they helped destroy the horror of Hitler’s Third Reich is at the heart of Masters of the Air. Some were shot down and captured; some were wounded or killed. And some were lucky enough to make it home. Regardless of individual fate, a toll was exacted on them all.”

Apple’s highly anticipated limited series, “Masters of the Air,” hailing from Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and written by John Orloff will premiere globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, January 26, 2024. Photo: AppleTV+

The screening event was spectacular. Guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres, a full bar, and access to the museum’s impressive collection of WWII vehicles and memorabilia, including a B-17 Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber — the same model of aircraft used by the heroes portrayed in Masters of the Air. Attendees were also treated to a special performance by the Victory Belles, the nation’s most authentic 1940s vocal trio. Following the Victory Belles, audience members settled in for the screening of the first episode of Masters of the Air. In the first episode, we see the 100th Bomb Group, led by Majors Cleven and Egan, arrive in England, and join the 8th Air Force’s campaign against Nazi Germany.

The Victory Belles perform at a Masters of the Air special screening event hosted by USAA at the World War II Museum in New Orleans, January 19, 2024. Photo: Matt VanEck for We Are The Mighty

USAF Col. David Morrissey, Military Affairs Relationship Adviser, U.S. Air Force Academy at USAA, attended the event and spoke to the audience. He shared, “At USAA, we do like to put on these special events for the veteran community because we do know what it means to serve. The 100th was known as the 'Bloody Hundredth' and I think when you watch that first episode, you understand why. This is why we have to tell this story, so our children and grandchildren will be imbued with that sense of patriotism.” 

USAF Col. (Ret.) David Morrissey, Military Affairs at USAA, attended the event and spoke to the audience. He shared, “At USAA, we do like to put on these special events for the veteran community because we do know what it means to serve. The 100th was known as the Bloody Hundredth and I think when you watch that first episode, you understand why. This is why we have to tell this story, so our children and grandchildren will be imbued with that sense of patriotism.” 

Watch the event overview here, including audience reactions, which speak for themselves: 

Series trailer:

Masters of the Air premieres on Apple TV+ on January 26, when the first two episodes will be released. The mini-series produced by Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will span nine, one-hour, gripping episodes total, released every Friday between January 26 and March 15.

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