Since then, fighter pilots have played an im- portant role in major conflicts, from World War II in the 1940s to the Gulf Wars in the 1990s and 2000s. “Every fighter pilot remembers the first time they deployed in combat and how special that moment was,” says Air Force Lt. Col. Mike “Homie” McGinn. “Fighter pilot is not just a job. It’s an attitude; it’s a mentality.” In the Cockpit Dogfights such as those fought during the World Wars are less common among today’s fighter pilots. Occasionally, pilots must engage in direct air-to-air combat, firing their weapons at each oth- er while executing aerial maneuvers. Most of the time, however, fighter pilots are called on for other kinds of missions. They make attacks called sor- ties . They may shoot at enemy soldiers to pro- tect friendly forces on the ground. They may also try to destroy the enemy’s weapons and supplies. Some pilots try to distract or confuse the enemy, or purposely try to draw enemy fire so that it is


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