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According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, an early working title of the film was Hell Cats. The opening credits have the following acknowledgment: "With the gratefully acknowledged cooperation of the United States Navy." A pre-production news item lists Walter Strohm as the assistant director, however, only Lew Borzage is listed after the film began production. Another news item, on August 7, 1940, noted that R. C. Sheriff was "polishing" the script, however, he is not mentioned elsewhere and his contribution to the film has not been determined. According to the pressbook for the film contained in the AMPAS Library, the picture was made by M-G-M at the federal government's request to increase the public's awareness of the importance of defense preparations. The world premiere in Washington, D. C. coincided with celebrations for "Pan American Aviation Day." A Hollywood Reporter news item on December 17, 1940, noted that the picture was previewed aboard an airplane flight from Washington to Pittsburgh on 15 Dec. Modern sources credit Richard Rosson and Elmer Dyer with 2nd unit direction and include Paul Mantz and Frank Clarke on the 2nd unit camera crew which worked on various flying sequences.