I'm in agreement with your post, except for:
Originally Posted by clifp
Every POW I've ever heard speak (and I just heard a WWII Tuskegee airman speak a few weeks ) says that being shot down is no great accomplishment, far from it means you screwed up big time.
Getting shot down can sometimes be the fault of the aviator, but sometimes not. Sometimes the tactics, stealth, standoff jamming, and onboard ECM work, and sometimes they don't.
I wouldn't try to tell an 8th AF crewmember who bailed out over Germany in 1944 that he'd screwed up. They generally hadn't "screwed up"--they were just gritting their teeth, staying in formation, and hoping the 88s didn't find their mark. Kinda like a sub crew listening to the depth charges fall around them and doing a little thinking about mortality.