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Masters of the Air true story: here's what happened to the 100th Bomb Group after the show

 Masters of the Air.
Masters of the Air.

Masters of the Air tells the true story of the 100th Bomb Group, AKA the Bloody Hundredth, and their experiences during World War 2.

If you've watched the series on Apple TV Plus, you might be wondering what happened to the core characters after the war finished. We've gone into details below on key members of the Bloody Hundredth and what they got up to once the fighting ended – that means there are technically Masters of the Air spoilers here, though of course it's all history.

So, to find out what happened to the likes of Gale Cleven and John Egan after the war, head to our guide below for all you need to know.

Gale "Buck" Cleven

Austin Butler in Masters of the Air
Austin Butler in Masters of the Air

Cleven really was best friends with Egan in real life (and he really did ask him "what the hell took you so long?" when they reunited in the prisoner of war camp). After the war, Cleven remained in the Air Force and retired in 1964 as a Colonel, after serving in Korea, Vietnam, and working at The Pentagon.

He also earned some impressive academic credentials, securing an MBA from Harvard Business School, a doctorate in interplanetary physics, a masters in geology, and a maths degree. Cleven went on to take over Webber College in Florida and turned it from a struggling institution to a thriving business school.

In the series, Cleven proposed to his girlfriend Marjorie, and in real life the duo married in 1945, with Egan as best man. Tragically, Marjorie died in 1953. Cleven later remarried, and he and his second wife Esther Lee Athey were together until Cleven died in 2006 at the age of 97.

John "Bucky" Egan

Masters of the Air episode 5
Masters of the Air episode 5

Like Cleven, Egan survived his stint in the POW camp. He remained in the Air Force after the war, and, in 1945, he married a fellow pilot named Josephine Pitz. They had two children together.

Egan's military career took him to Korea, Japan, and Hawaii. He was promoted to Colonel in 1951, and by 1958 he was working at The Pentagon.

Sadly, Egan suffered a heart attack and died in 1961, aged just 45. He was awarded the Legion of Merit posthumously and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Harry Crosby

Masters of the Air
Masters of the Air

Crosby went on to have quite the illustrious writing and academic career – his book about his war experiences, A Wing and a Prayer, is one of the sources for Masters of the Air.

After the war, Crosby secured a master's and a PhD, went into teaching, and co-authored a number of books about his speciality, college writing. After retiring, he became Harvard's Director of the Writing Center.

His military career also continued, in a fashion: Crosby worked on curriculum for the United States Air Force Academy, was Director of Studies for the Pakistan Air Force Academy, and even carried out duties for the CIA.

Crosby's post-war activities also took him into politics; he worked on the first congressional campaign of Representative Barney Frank and was on the Newton Board of Alderman for three years.

As depicted in the show, Crosby was married to Jean Evelyn Boehner. They had four children together. Sadly, Jean died in 1980. Crosby married Mary Alice Tompkins in 1982, and he died in 2010 at the age of 91.

Robert Rosenthal

Masters of the Air
Masters of the Air

When the fighting finished, Rosenthal, who was a lawyer before the war, was involved in the Nuremberg trials against the surviving Nazi leaders as an assistant to the US prosecutor Robert Houghwout Jackson. He even interrogated one of the top ranking Nazis, Hermann Göring, as well as field marshall Wilhelm Keitel.

On the way to Germany, Rosenthal met Phyllis Heller, another lawyer involved in the prosecution at Nuremberg – they married and had three children together.

Rosenthal died in 2007 at the age of 89.


Masters of the Air is streaming on Apple TV Plus now. Fill out your watchlist with our guide to the best shows on Apple TV Plus.