When the United States was thrust into World War II in 1941, it wasn't just anonymous Americans who answered the call to service. Many of Hollywood's finest volunteered for the war effort, along with numerous musicians and professional athletes. Hollywood director Frank Capra made films for the U.S. government, including the seven-part Why We Fight (1942-44), designed to explain the war to servicemen and civilians alike. Yankee star Joe DiMaggio and boxing heavyweight champion Joe Louis gave morale-boosting demonstrations to U.S. Army troops around the world. Big-band leader Glenn Miller led the U.S. Army Air Force band in Europe and gave his life to the war when his plane went down in the English Channel. Hollywood stars Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart both served in the U.S. Army Air Forces, dividing their time between appearances in military documentaries and actual combat. Gable, who decided to enlist after his wife was killed in a plane crash returning from a war-bond drive, served with distinction, participating in several bombing raids over Nazi Germany, rising to the rank of major, and receiving the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross.