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In the movie Redtails, Lightning shows that he has a tendency to be pretty reckless. This is shown by him taking the armed train by himself or attacking the german destroyer on his own. However, I didn’t quite understand where this comes from. What was the motivation, or reasoning, why Lightning was so reckless when he flew?

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He's a fantastic pilot. And so he wanted to show off. His tendency to ignore orders freed him to do higher-risk higher-reward attacks. This got him the acclaim he wanted. After his attack on the German destroyer, you can see this in him bragging while they're watching the film of his attack.

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