|Major Bill Allen|| Major Bill Allen |
Commissioned in November 1943, Bill Allen was posted to England, joining the 55th Fighter Group based at Wormingford, on May 15th 1944. Posted into the 343rd Fighter Squadron the following day, Bill flew his first combat mission on 14th June 1944. He flew both P38 Lightnings and P51 Mustangs through his tour, becoming an Ace in one day on 5th September 1944, when he shot down 5 German aircraft whilst flying his P51 'Pretty Patty II'.
|First Lieutenant Stephen Ananian|| First Lieutenant Stephen Ananian |
Flying with the 505th Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group based at Fowlmere near Cambridge, Stephen Ananian shot down an Me262 on 9th February 1945 whilst flying a P-51 Mustang. In April 1945 the 339th became the only group in the 8th Air Force to claim over a hundred strafing victories on two separate occasions and Ananian notched up a tally of 4 air victories during 63 combat missions with the unit.
|Colonel C E Bud Anderson|| Colonel C E Bud Anderson |
Bud Anderson went to England with the 357th Fighter Group in 1943, the first Eighth Air Force Group to be equipped with the P-51 Mustang. He got himself on the score sheet on one of the first Berlin missions, dog fighting with a bunch of Me109s who had set upon a straggling B-17. On 29th June 1944, leading his squadron on a mission to Leipzig, they ran into a formation of Fw190s. In the ensuing battle Anderson shot down the leader, and two more Fw190s. After a short rest in the U.S., Bud returned for a second tour, just in time for the 357th's big day on 27th November 1944. With the 353rd they took on a huge formation of some 200 enemy fighters, Anderson adding three more to his score. He finished the war with 16 air victories and many more probables.
|Captain Murray Anderson DFC*|| Captain Murray Anderson DFC* |
Commissioned in the Royal Tank Regiment from RMA Woolwich in 1939, Murray Anderson was seconded to the Royal Air Force in 1940. He flew Spitfires with No.1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit at RAF Benson until 1943. He then joined 161 (Special Duties) Squadron flying Lysanders, and was the most successful pick up pilot for the whole of that year even though in May 1944 he was posted to 65 Squadron 2nd Tactical Air Force, flying Mustangs. After a rest period he was posted to 52 Sqn at Dum Dum in May 1945.
|Flight Lieutenant Peter Arkell|
|Died : 27 / 8 / 2010|| Flight Lieutenant Peter Arkell |
For his first tour Peter flew Mustangs and Spitfires with 26 Squadron on intruder and low lever photographic sorties over France, before joining 161 Squadron as Tempsford in 1944, flying Lysanders into occupied Europe. He then accompanied the Lysanders to Burma where he flew 35 successful but hazardous missions supplying Force 136 behind the Japanese lines. He was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1997 for his work as chairman of the Anglo-American community relations committee at RAF Fairford. Peter Arkell passed away on 27th August 2010.
|Colonel William B Bailey USAF|| Colonel William B Bailey USAF |
William Bradford Bailey was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on August 20,1918 as WW1 was winding down. Bill graduated from Duke University in 1940, and earned his Private Pilots License under a program sponsored by the Civil Aeronautics Administration. He was selected for advanced training in a PT-17. In September of 1940 Bill reached an important fork in his future career road. Instead of attending Harvard Business School he chose Army Flight Training instead, graduating with Class 41-E at Maxwell Field in Alabama. His first assignment was at Mitchel Field in New York flying P-40s with the 58th Pursuit Squadron. With America's entry into WW II the Army Air Corps grew rapidly and Bill received numerous assignments of increasing responsibility. This culminated with his posting as C.O. of the 352nd FS equipped with P-40s. The squadron was deemed combat-ready in August 1943 following 6-months of training with the P-47 Jug. Assigned to the 8th Air Force in East Anglia, UK, Col. Bailey lead the 352nd in conducting its primary mission of bomber-escort and ground attack. In July of 1944 Bailey assumed the post of Executive Officer and Deputy Commander of the 353rd Fighter Group. The Group converted to the P51 Mustang in September, and Bailey continued in that capacity until September of 1945. In his two combat tours Bill Bailey flew 186 combat missions totaling 454 hours. He flew 32 missions and 129 hours in the P-51. He was credited with 3 enemy aircraft destroyed in aerial combat and an additional 3 destroyed on the ground. Like most military pilots in WW II, Col. Bailey was a team player who was more conservative in his flying than some other fighter pilots who were more focused on attaining personal fame or glory. On March 2, 1945 Bailey led a group of fifty-two P-51s in support of a major bombing mission of a refinery in the Eastern Ruhr. Shortly after joining up with the bombers, Bailey noticed a large group of German fighters to the East. With the sun at their back, the P-51s gained altitude and attacked the German fighters from behind as they prepared to turn into the bomber formation. The Germans were caught by surprise and fifteen Jerrys were downed. In the melee that followed Bailey lost contact with his wingman and followed a group of about six Fw-190s diving for cover in the overcast below. Bailey caught up with them as he ducked in and out of clouds at 12,000 feet. He caught two of them with a concentrated burst at about 50 yards from their tails. Low on fuel and facing a 400-mile return trip, Bailey broke off the attack and returned to England. Following WWII, Bailey accepted a regular commission in the Air Force and was sent to Columbia University Graduate School of International Affairs. After graduation, his successive assignments included Assistant Air Attache, U.S. Embassy, Paris, and Director for Arms Control, Disarmament and United Nations Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Air Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, student at the National War College, Office of the Chief of Staff, USAF, and Air Attache, US Embassy, Paris. Following his retirement from the Air Force he became Director of European Operations for Rohr Industries, the leading manufacturer of nacelles and thrust reversers for transport aircraft including the European Airbus. Col. Bailey's decorations include the Silver Star, The Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters, the French Legion of Honor, and the Swedish Royal Order of the Sword.
|Major Robert M Barkey|
|Died : 30 / 5 / 2008|| Major Robert M Barkey |
Robert Barkey was assigned to Checkertail Clan (325th FG, 319th FS), after his initial training. Robert Barkey began flying P40s in Africa, and after changing to fly the P 47s in late 1943, was moved to Italy. Barkeys first victory on 22.02.1944, Downed 2 more 109s, both flown by aces of elite German JG 26, and another 109 on 24.05.44. Flying the history-making Russian shuttle in P 51 mustang, he became an Ace on 6 June 44 for one more Me 109, this time fying the P 51 mustang. Recalled in 1951 flying F 84s, retiring as Major in 1961. 53 combat missions in WWII. 5 confirmed victories, 1 probable. major Robert Barkey's decorations include: DFC, 13 Air Medals, and Presidential Unit Citation. Sadly, he passed away on 30th May 2008.
|Capt Howard Baugh|| Capt Howard Baugh |
Flew with the 332nd Fighter Group, the Tuskegee Airmen. Captain Howard L. Baugh was born in Petersburg, Virginia. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in March of 1942. He was with the 99th Fighter Squadron in Sicily in July 1943 and flew 135 operational sorties in P-40s and P-51s. He struck artillery batteries, truck convoys and radar installations. Other duties were escorting B-17 and B-24 formations. He shared a Fw190 victory and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
|Lieutenant Colonel Charles E Beck|
|Died : 25 / 3 / 2009|| Lieutenant Colonel Charles E Beck |
Charles Beck joined the service in November 1942, and after gaining his pilots wings, was posted to the 361st Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group at Martlesham Heath in July 1944. He flew his first combat mission with the, in a P47, on 29th August 1944. He then flew Mustangs as the group converted over to P51s from the P47. He took part in the Groups big mission to Misbourg, Germany, on 26th November, when the Group scored 110 victories against a big Luftwaffe attack on the bomber stream. Charles finished his combat tour on 7th May 1945, the last day of the war. He returned home and continued his service, flying with the Van Nuys Air National Guard, flying P-51, F-86 Sabre and F-102 Delta Dagger aircraft. He was one of the first people to break the sound barrier, using an F-86 Sabre. He later served on active duty in the Korean War, and during the Vietnam conflict. He served for three years with the US Navy as a liaison officer on the F4U Corsair. Sadly, Charles Beck died on 25th March 2009.
|Air Vice-Marshall H. Bird-Wilson. CBE.DSO.DFC.AFC. (BAR)|
|Died : 27 / 12 / 2000|| Air Vice-Marshall H. Bird-Wilson. CBE.DSO.DFC.AFC. (BAR) |
Birdy-Wilson joined the R.A.F. in 1937 and fought with 17 squadron during the Battle of France. Active throughout the Battle of Britain, awarded the DFC in the September of 1940, the same date he was shot down by Major Adolph Galland of JG26, bailing out with severe burns. He took command of 152 squadron in April 1942 and promoted Wing Commander 1943 he led 121 wing then 122 wing. Rested in January 1944 he went to the US command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Throughout the rest of 1944 he flew Mustangs, being awarded the D.S.O. in January 1945. He added the Czech Medal of Merit, 1st Class and the Dutch DFC. He stayed in the R.A.F. after the war until his retirement in 1974. By 1987 he had flown no less than 213 different types, including an Airship, the James Bond Autogiro and during 1978 the F-15 Eagle Fighter. He died on 27th December 2000.
|Major General Frederick Blesse|| Major General Frederick Blesse |
Major General Frederick C. Boots Blesse, born in 1921 in Colón, Panama Canal Zone, graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1945. His first combat missions in Korea were flown in the P-51 where he completed 67 missions in the Mustang. This was followed by 35 missions flying the F-80 and 121 missions in the F-86. In all he flew 233 combat missions in the Korean conflict achieving 10 aerial victories making him the current leading Ace from that war. He later flew 157 missions in the F-4 in Vietnam. He retired from the USAF in 1975, with more than 6,500 flying hours in fighter-type aircraft and more than 650 hours combat time to his credit.
|Captain Richard Braley|| Captain Richard Braley |
Richard Braley joined the Royal Air Force as a volunteer in March, 1942. He flew Spitfires with 64 Squadron before being personally recruited by by General McColpin to join 133 Squadron - the third Eagle squadron to be formed by the RAF. On September 12, 1942, the Eagle Squadrons were transferred to the USAAF and activated as the 4th Figher Group. Richard Braley was one of the squadron P-51 strafing experts - attacking and destroying numerous trains, a bridge and an electrical plant. He flew over 210 combat missions, first in Spitfires, then in P-47s and P-51s - including 3 missions as Flight Commander of 336 Squadron on D-Day.
|Captain Jim Brooks|| Captain Jim Brooks |
Jim Brooks joined the 31st Fighter Group in Italy in early 1944, flying the P51 against Me109s, Fw190s, and the Italian Macchi Mc202. He scored his first victory on a mission to Ploesti. Later, leading the 307th Fighter Squadron on a Russian shuttle mission, they engaged a large formation of Ju87 Stukas, shooting down 27 enemy aircraft, Jim Brooks accounting for three of them. He ended his tour with 280 combat hours, and 13 confirmed victories.
|Colonel Jacksel M Broughton|| Colonel Jacksel M Broughton |
Jacksel Broughton was born on January 4, 1925 in Utica, New York. Jacksel Broughton was a 1942 graduate of Brighton High School in Rochester, New York. Broughton entered the United States Military Acedemy on July 15th, 1942, in the wartime three-year curriculum that eliminated the cadet second class (junior) year. Graduating from West Point in 1945, he was commissioned into the United States Air Force. Jacksel Broughton was initially assigned to Europe, flying P-47s and P-51s. He converted to jets at Nellis AFB, he flew a combat tour in Korea in P-80s, and a second tour in F-84s. After various operational positions he led the USAF Thunderbirds for three years - the worlds first supersonic acrobatic team. Jacksel commanded 2 tours in south east Asia flying the F-105 during Rolling Thunder missions. In his long career he accomplished being combat ready in every Air Force Fighter from the P-47 to F-106. During 4 combat tours he flew over 216 combat missions. Jacksel has written two highly respected books - Thud Ridge and Going Downtown, both first hand accounts of the air war over South East Asia. He retired from the Air Force in 1968 with the rank of Colonel on August 31st, 1968, with 43 separate awards and decorations, including four Distinguished Flying Crosses two Silver Stars and the highest Air Force decoration, the presidentially-awarded Air Force Cross.
|Colonel Gerald Brown|
|Died : 9 / 12 / 2007|| Colonel Gerald Brown |
Gerald Brown arrived in Europe in August 1943, completing his first tour with the 38th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, becoming the first P38 Ace in the 8th Air Force. Volunteering for a second tour, this time flying P-51 Mustangs with the 334th FS, 4th Fighter Group at Debden. In September 1944 he was forced to bail out of his burning P-51 over enemy territory, but escaped to return to his squadron, and completed his second tour in November 1944. Gerry Brown later flew in Korea, but was shot down, spending three years in captivity. Sadly, he passed away on 9th December 2007.
|Captain Roscoe Brown|| Captain Roscoe Brown |
After graduating for pilot training from the Tuskegee Army Air base in March 1944, he was deployed to Italy to join the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group - the Tuskegee Airmen - flying their famous red tailed P-51 Mustangs on bomber escort duties. On 24th March 1945 whilst escorting B-17s on a bombing mission to Berlin he shot down an Me262 after the formation was attacked by the German jets and a week later also shot down an Me109. Promoted to command the 100th Fighter Squadron, he flew 68 combat missions.
|Lt Col Donald S Bryan|| Lt Col Donald S Bryan |
Originally a P-40 instructor with the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, Don Bryan then transferred to the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group as a flight leader flying P-47s. Moving to Bodney, England, in June, he flew with the group on its first combat mission in September, flying his P-47 Little One, named after his girlfriend Frances Norman. In April 1944, he transferred to P-51s, Little One II and Little One III, and completed his first combat tour in May 1944. He returned to the 328th Fighter Squadron in August, became an Ace two months later, and gained Ace in a Day status on 2nd November when he downed five Fw190s in a single mission. Don flew 140 combat missions, never lost a wingman, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor.
|Captain Clinton DeWitt Burdick|| Captain Clinton DeWitt Burdick |
Clinton Burdicks father, Lt Howard Burdick, had been an Ace with 8 victories during the First World War. So perhaps it was natural that Clinton signed up for the service on his 18th birthday in 1942. After pilot training he transferred to join the 361st Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group at Martlesham Heath in England, in October 1944. Flying his first combat mission in Noveber, his first victory came quickly on the 25th of that month, and like his father, he too was to become an Ace. Clinton flew 53 combat missions during his tour with the 356th, his last coming on 20th February 1945, and with 6 victories was one of only five aerial Aces in the 356th.
|Leonard Kit Carson|| Leonard Kit Carson |
Leonard 'Kit' Carson with 18.5 victories was the top ace of the 357th Fighter Group. His first victory was on April 8th 1944. He scored all his 18.5 victories flying five mustangs all named Nooky Booky. Kit Carson went onto to run the 357th's combat training school or Clobber College. Captain Leonard K. Kit Carson, on the 38th mission of his second tour and having nine previous credits, became the second 357th pilot to become an ace in a day. He was squadron commander between 8 April 1945–1 November 1945.
|Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC OM DSO** DFC*|
|Died : 31 / 7 / 1992|| Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC OM DSO** DFC* |
One of the most courageous and determined bomber leaders of World War II, Leonard Cheshire flew four operational tours, starting in June 1940 with 102 Squadron on Whitley bombers at RAF Driffield. In November 1940, he was awarded the DSO for getting his badly damaged aircraft back to base. He completed his first tour in January 1941, but immediately volunteered for a second tour, this time flying Halifaxes with 35 Squadron. He became Squadron Leader in 1942, and was appointed commanding officer of 76 Squadron later that year. Leonard Cheshire ordered that non-essential weight be removed from the Halifax bombers in a bid to increase speed and altitude, hoping to reduce the high casualty rates for this squadron. Mid-upper and nose turrets were removed, and exhaust covers taken off, successfully reducing the loss rate. In July 1943 he took command of 617 Squadron. During this time he led the squadron personally on every occasion. In September he was awarded the Victoria Cross for four and a half years of sustained bravery during a total of 102 operations, leading his crews with careful planning, brilliant execution and contempt for danger, which gained him a reputation second to none in Bomber Command. Sadly, Leonard Cheshire died of motor neuron disease on 31st July 1992, aged 74.
|Lt Colonel Clark W Clemons|| Lt Colonel Clark W Clemons |
Clark Clemons joined the service on December 15th 1942 and after training was posted to the Eight Air Force in England, joining the 84th Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group at Duxford. Flying the P-51D, Clark flew 19 combat missions, including a brush with a Me163 rocket plane. His last mission was escorting RAF Lancasters down over southern Europe on a near 7 hour trip.
|Captain Wayne L Coleman|| Captain Wayne L Coleman |
Joining the service in January 1943, Wayne Coleman was posted to the 82nd Squadron, 78th Fighter Group at Duxford, near Cambridge in July 1944. He flew the first of his 75 combat missions a few days later on August 2nd in P-47s, dive-bombing and strafing in support of the Normandy invasion before converting to P-51s at the end of the year. Wayne shot down three Fw190s in a single mission and later on 31st March 1945, an Me262 jet. He flew continuously until the end of the war.
|Flight Lieutenant Bryan Colston|| Flight Lieutenant Bryan Colston |
Bryan Colston was born in Buckinghamshire on 27 May 1921 and was educated at St Pauls School. He joined the RAFVR in 1940, training on Tiger Moths, Oxfords and Lysanders, becoming a fighter reconnaissance pilot with 225 Squadron in 1941. He served with 225 Sqn until July 1943 and became a Flight Commander in 1942. He flew Lysanders, Tomahawks, Hurricanes, Mustangs and Spitfires serving throughout the Tunisian campaign and flying over a hundred operational sorties. He contracted typhoid fever at the end of the campaign and was invalided back to the UK, where, after periods of instructing at 61 OTU and some staff appointments, he commanded 695 Squadron flying Spitfire XVIs.
|First Lieutenant Raymond T Conlin|| First Lieutenant Raymond T Conlin |
'Ted' Conlin joined the service in July 1942, arriving in england in March 1944 to join the 362nd Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, flying P-51s. He flew the first of his combat missions on 13th May 1944, and the next few weeks saw much activity in the build up to D-Day. In September he took part in the air operations in support of Market Garden, the airborne landings in Holland around Arnhem and Nijmegen, and also escort on the 'Russian Shuttle' missions. He finished his combat tour in November 1944.
|Wing Commander R C Dick Cresswell|
|Died : 12 / 12 / 2006|| Wing Commander R C Dick Cresswell |
Wing Commander Richard 'Dick' Cresswell, leading Australian Figher Ace. On December 2nd 1942 over Darwin, Cresswell shot down a Japanese heavy bomber. In total Cresswell logged over 450 hours flying hazardous operations as the leader of an Australian fighter squadron in two wars - WWII and Korea. He was three times Commanding Officer of 77 Squadron, his second stint was at Kamiri Airstrip on Noemfoor Island. The squadron were fying the Kittyhawk fighter. Cresswell handed over command on 23rd Secember 1944 to Squadron Leader W R C McCullough. Because of his distinguished service leading 77 Squadron he was known as 'Mr Double Seven'. He continued his service with 77 Squadron during the Korean War. Sadly Wing Commander R. C. (Dick) Cresswell DFC passed away on the 12th December 2006.
|Colonel Donald Cummings || Colonel Donald Cummings |
Joining the USAAF in 1941, Don Cummings saw action in England, Africa and Italy, taking part in the Battle of Anzio. Flying first with the 12th Air Force and then posted to the 8th Air Force in England, flying with the 39th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group out of Wormingford. Don Cummings flew a total of 150 combat missions and on 25th February, 1945, became one of only two fighter Aces to shoot down two Me262 jet fighters on a single mission. He then served in occupied Germany after the war ended.
|Lt Col Bob Curtis|| Lt Col Bob Curtis |
Bob Curtis arrived in North Africa in 1943, moving to Sicily soon after, flying Spitfires with the 52nd Fighter Group. He scored his first air victory over an Me109 flying his Spitfire, and later survived a bail out when his fighter was badly damaged after a building he strafed exploded beneath him. Moving across to the 15th Air Force, the 52nd Fighter Group re-equipped with the P-51 and Bob Curtis became a Squadron Commander. He added 13 more to his score flying the P-51, ending his war with 14 victories.
|Flight Lieutenant Roy Daines DFM|| Flight Lieutenant Roy Daines DFM |
Roy Daines joined the RAF as soon as he was able, and after completing his hurried training as a pilot, was posted to join 247 Squadron in the autumn of 1940. Here he flew Gladiators and Hurricanes on coastal patrols, 247 being the only squadron to fly Gladiators during the Battle of Britain, before converting to nightfighting Hurricanes. Later, in 1943, he flew Typhoons with 247 before being posted to join 65 Squadron flying Spitfires and Mustangs.
|General Ben Davis|
|Died : 4 / 7 / 2002|| General Ben Davis |
Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr was born in Washington, D.C. on December 18, 1912. A Westpointer, Ben Davis completed over 60 missions with both the 12th and 15th Air Forces. He flew P-40s, P-39s, P-47s and P-51s, all in combat. Davis himself led dozens of missions in P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs. He received the Silver Star for a strafing run into Austria and the Distinguished Flying Cross for a bomber-escort mission to Munich on June 9th, 1944. He saw action in North Africa and later in Sicily. After a brief spell commanding 332nd Fighter Group back in the U.S. he returned to the action to fly combat in Italy, remaining with the 15th Air Force until the end of the war. Davis served at the Pentagon and in overseas posts over the next two decades. He again saw combat in 1953 when he assumed command of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing (51 FIW) and flew an F-86 Sabre in Korea. He retired, highly decorated, a Lt. General. Davis was the first African-American general in the United States Air Force. Davis, was later advanced to four-star general, on December 9, 1998, by the President. Sadly General Ben Davis passed away on the 4th of July, 2002.
|Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Delgado|| Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Delgado |
Called to active duty in January 1943, Ralph Delgado flew 49 missions in Europe with the 355th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group. Whilst flying a P-51 he shot down an Me262 on 2nd March 1945.
|First Lieutenant Walter Jack Diamond|| First Lieutenant Walter Jack Diamond |
Jack Diamond joined the 487th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group in October 1944 and flew P-51 Mustang 'Twyla Sue' with them until the end of the war. He was one of the few pilots who not only managed to get airborne during the Luftwaffes 1945 New Years Day onslaught of Operation Bodenplatte, but scored an aerial victory and damaged another as well.
|Wing Commander Bob Doe, DSO, DFC*|
|Died : 21 / 2 / 2010|| Wing Commander Bob Doe, DSO, DFC* |
In 1939 he joined the R.A.F. and upon completion of his training was posted to 234 squadron. During the Battle of Britain he achieved great success. He was one of the very few pilots to successfully fly both Hurricanes and Spitfires and was one of the top scorers of the Battle with 14 and two shared victories. He was awarded the DFC in October and a BAR in November. He joined 66 squadron as a Flight Commander then moving to 130 squadron in August 1943 saw him in 613 squadron flying Mustangs. October 1943 he was posted out to the Far-East, forming 10 squadron, Indian Air Force, which he led on the Burma front. Awarded the DSO in 1945. He stayed on in the R.A.F. after the war, retirement in 1966 was followed by opening a Garage business which proved successful. Sadly, we have learned of the passing of Bob Doe on 21st February 2010.
|Maj Urban L Drew USAF|| Maj Urban L Drew USAF |
Urban Ben Drew was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1924. Three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, at the age of eighteen, Drew joined the USAAF and commenced pilot training. He earned his wings and a commission at Mariana, Florida in October 1943. He remained in the States honing his flying skills as an instructor pilot for the North American P-51 Mustang at Bartow, Florida. In May of 1944 he received his first overseas combat assignment, sailing to England on the Queen Elizabeth. He was assigned to the 375th Fighter Squadron Yellowjackets of the 361st Fighter Group based in at Bottisham in Cambridgeshire. Later his squadron would be relocated to Little Walden in Essex. During his combat tour Drew would fly a total of seventy-five combat missions, rising to command of X' Flight and later to command of the 375th squadron. Drew would be officially credited with six aerial victories during his combat tour. Notable was his downing of two Me-262 jets on October 7, 1944. He was the first fighter pilot to down two of the German jets, and he received the Air Force Cross for this achievement. Also of note was the ace's destruction of the largest aircraft to fly in WW 11, the BV-238, which he destroyed in a strafing pass with two wingman on Lake Schaal on September 18, 1944. Initially he was credited with the destruction of a BV-222, and it was not until many years later during the research for a British Broadcasting Company documentary that it became clear that it was a BV-238 which Drew and his wingmen strafed and destroyed on September 18, 1944. Following his successful combat tour, Drew returned to the States where he again served as a flight instructor. In 1945 he was assigned to the 412 th Fighter Squadron of the 414 th Fighter Group based at lwo Jima flying the P-47 Jug. Drew's final victory tally included 6 confirmed aerial victories, 1 damaged, and 1 additional aircraft destroyed on the ground. In addition to the Air Force Cross, Drew was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 14 Air Medals. Following the War Drew helped organize the 127 th Fighter Group of the Michigan National Guard. He became Deputy Group Commander and later was appointed the first Air Adjutant General of the State of Michigan. After his retirement from the Air Force with the rank of Major, he established an aviation business in Britain and South Africa. He currently resides in Southern California, and remains active in matters involving the American Fighter Aces Association.
|Lieutenant Colonel Clyde B East|| Lieutenant Colonel Clyde B East |
Joining the RCAF in June 1941, Clyde East flew P51 Mustangs with 414 Fighter / Reconnaissance Squadron RCAF in England, before transferring to the USAAF in January 1944. He joined the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 2nd February flying F-6C Mustangs, and flew over 200 combat missions with them during the war, achieving 14 victories. He later served in Korea, flying 100 missions in RF-51s and RF-80s.
|Warren Emerson|| Warren Emerson |
P51 pilot who flew during the D-Day landings.
|Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM|| Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM |
Paul Farnes was born in Boscombe, Hampshire, July 16, 1918. He joined the RAFVR in April 1938 and is mobilized in July 1939 before being posted to 501 Squadron, 14 September 1939. He accompanied the Squadron when it was sent to France in May 1940, winning his first victories in the campaign of France and during the Battle of Britain. In October, he was awarded the DFM after eight victories and was promoted to officer the following month. In February 1941 he was transferred to 57 OTU as an instructor and then to 73 OTU in November, in Aden. In late February 1942, he was posted to 229 Squadron in North Africa as Flight Commander. On March 27, 1942, he flew to Malta with the rest of the Squadron aboard the Hurricane IIc BN122. After a period of intense and difficult battles in which defenders of the island will lose many fighters, during which he took command of the Squadron, he returned to Egypt with the survivors of his unit May 27, 1942. He then transferred to Iraq where he joined the Headquarters and remained there until March 1945. He then returned to Great Britain and three weeks after upgrading to the UTO 53, he took command of 124 Squadron, a position he held until the end of the war. He joined the Tangmere before making command of 611 Squadron equipped Mustang IV July 7, 1945. In August, the Squadron was disbanded and it supports the 164 Squadron with Spitfire IX. 63 Squadron was designated in August 1946. In January 1947, he became an officer of Liaison with training centres with the Air Ministry until October 1948. He then became an instructor in various centres. He continued his career in the RAF until 1958 and left active service with the rank of Wing Commander. He returned to his civilian career in the industry.
|Colonel Arthur C Fiedler|| Colonel Arthur C Fiedler |
Arthur Charles Fiedler was born in Oak Park, Illinois on August 1, 1923. In April of 1942, five months after America entered WW 11, Fiedler enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He was sent to Avon Park, Florida for primary training, followed by basic training at Macon, Georgia, and advanced training at Marianna, Florida. He graduated with Class 43G in July of 1943, and was assigned as a flight instructor, flying Republic P-47 Thunderbolts at Dover, Delaware. In April of 1944 Second Lieutenant Feidler was assigned to combat duty, and was assigned to the 317th Fighter Squadron of the 325th Fighter Group (the Cheekertails), based in Lesina, Italy. He transitioned to the North American P-51 Mustang, naming his assigned aircraft after his wife Helen whom he had married in 1943. On June 24, Fiedler claimed a probable. On June 28 he attained his first two aerial victories. At that morning's briefing Fiedler was elated to learn that his squadron's mission would be a fighter sweep over Polesti, Rumania, in advance of a bombing mission targeting the massive oil refining operations in that area.. When flying fighter escort for bombers the fighters were prohibited from flying below 15,000-feet. This gave the Germans a dog fighting advantage, as the early Allison-powered Mustangs were good performers at low altitudes but relatively poor performers at higher altitudes. Forty P-5 Is from the 325th 17G took off at 0725 hours for the fighter sweep. Sweeping the target area at 25,000-29,000 feet for about 45 minutes a total of 47 enemy aircraft were encountered. During this mission Fiedler would earn his first two victories. Fiedler became an ace on July 26 when he downed his fourth and fifth aircraft, a Fw- 190, south of Vienna, and a 109 several minutes later. Promoted to Captain, Fiedler attained his eighth and final victory on January 20, 1945 while escorting B-17s to Regerisbuurg. His flight of four P-51s broke-up an attacking force of 40 German fighters. Following the War Fiedler left the military and attended the University of Illinois, earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He was recalled for active duty during the Korean War, and decided to make a career in the Air Force. In addition to his 66 combat missions flown in WW 11, Fiedler would fly 247 combat missions in C-130s during the Vietnam War Col. Fiedler retired from the USAF in 1975, and currently resides in Southern California. His decorations include the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one OLC, the Air Medal with 22 OLCs, and the Partisan Star.
|Captain John Fitch|| Captain John Fitch |
Joining the Army Air Corps in 1941 he began his service flying the A-20 Havoc in North Africa. Volunteering for a second tour in 1944 he joined the 335th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group initially flying P-47s and on 18th November 1944 he shot down an Me262 over Germany. Transferring to P-51s he was shot down in March 1945 whilst strafing a train, and was taken prisoner. After the war he became a successful Grand Prix racing driver and an icon of the racing industry.
|Lieutenant Colonel William W Foard|| Lieutenant Colonel William W Foard |
27th February 1943 saw Bill Foard join the service and commence his pilot training, gaining his pilots wings, after which he was posted to the Eighth Air Force in England. Joining the 357th Fighter Group flying P51D Mustangs with the 364 Fighter Squadron based at Leiston in Suffolk, East Anglia, Bill flew his first combat mission on 21st February 1945. He took part in all of the Squadrons main escort raids and fighter actions during the final phase of the air war, until the end of hostilities.
|Major General Wayne C Gatlin|| Major General Wayne C Gatlin |
Wayne Gatlin flew with the 360th Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group based at Martlesham Heath. From September 1944 he undertook 55 combat missions before the end of the war, six in P-47s and the rest in P-51Ds. On 10 April 1945 he destroyed an Me262 jet before immediately damaging another.
|Major General Edward Giller|| Major General Edward Giller |
Edward Giller flew P-51s with the 55th Fighter Group and commanded the 343rd Fighter Squadron. His P-51s were all named 'The Millie G' after his wife Mildred and his first Mustang is now a preserved and well known warbird. Flying 120 missions he scored 3 confirmed victories including an Me262 on 9th April 1945.
|Group Captain Ross H Glassop DFC* MID|| Group Captain Ross H Glassop DFC* MID |
Joined the RAAF in March 1941 and trained in Australia. In November 1941, Sgt Glassop joined 22 Sqn and in January 1942 was posted to 24 Sqn based at Rabaul with Wirraways. He was en route to Townsville when 24 Sqn was decimated by the Japanese. Ross was attached to 76 Sqn at Townsville on 24th May and flew his first Kittyhawk that same day. Arriving at Milne Bay on 24th July, he shot down a Zero strafing No.1 strip on 24th August. Glassop participated in many successful strafing ops during the battle and remained with 76 until they withdrew to Australia on 22nd September. In March 1943 he was posted to 2 OTU as an instructor until November 1943. Ross joined 5 Sqn equipped with Boomerangs in June 1944 and in November moved to Bouganville until the end of the war. Flt Lt Ross Glassop was awarded the DFC in February 1945 and a bar and MID whilst serving in Korea flying Mustangs and Meteors with 77 Sqn RAAF.
|Colonel Bob Goebel|
|Died : 20 / 2 / 2011|| Colonel Bob Goebel |
December 1943 found Bob Goebel in North Africa flying Spitfires in preparation for joining the 31st Fighter Group. As soon as they arrived they re-equipped with P51 Mustangs and flew to Italy, where Bob flew a total of 62 combat missions, including 16 hazardous trips to the Romanian oilfields. During his combat operations he led his squadron into action seven times, and his entire Group twice, whilst still only aged 21. He ended the war with 11 air victories. Sadly, Bob Goebel passed away on 20th February 2011.
|Colonel Jim Goodson|| Colonel Jim Goodson |
Jim Goodson joined the RAF in 1940. Posted to re-form 133 Eagle Squadron RAF flying Spitfires, he transferred to the USAAF 4th fighter Group in September 1942, commanding 336 Squadron. Flying P47s and then P51s, Jim Goodson flew continuously until he was shot down ten months before the end of the war. He was one of the most highly decorated Aces in the USAAF, with 32 enemy aircraft to his credit.
|Lieutenant Colonel Leo R Gray|| Lieutenant Colonel Leo R Gray |
Leo Gray graduated as a pilot in one of the final classes from Tuskegee and was immediately posted to fly in combat with the Red Tails in the 100th Fighter Squadron. Arriving in Ramitelli, Italy, on March 14th 1945 he very quickly has a close encounter with two Me262s while escorting home a damaged P38. Flying on long range escort missions in the P51, he also flew P40s and P47s in combat.
|Major Herky Green|
|Died : 16 / 8 / 2006|| Major Herky Green |
'Herky' Green arrived in North Africa in January 1943 flying with the 325th Fighter Group. During his first action his P40 was so riddled with tracer that it had to be scrapped - but he still managed to shoot down one of his attackers. Flying from North Africa, and later Italy, 'Herky' flew P40s, P47s and P51s, scoring victories in all three types. In March 1944 he took command of the 317th Fighter Squadron, flew over 100 missions, ending the war with 18 air victories. Herky Green died 16th August 2006.
|Captian Clayton Gross|| Captian Clayton Gross |
Clayton Gross was one of 12 original pilots to fly with the 355th fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group. He first saw combat in 1943, and took part in the great D-Day air operations on 6th June 1944. He flew over 100 combat missions in two combat tours on P51s, was credited with 6 confirmed kills (including an Me262 jet), 14 damaged, multiple ground vehicles destroyed, including 8 locomotives. He survived one bail-out behind enemy lines, and flew continuously in the ETO until VE Day.
|Lieutenant Colonel George E Hardy|| Lieutenant Colonel George E Hardy |
After graduating from Tuskegee Army Air Field, George joined the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group at Ramitelli, Italy in 1945, and flew 21 combat missions in the P51 Mustang on bomber escort missions in B29s, and during the Vietnam War flew 70 combat missions in AC-119K gunships.
|1st Lieutenant Ivan Hasek|
|Died : 12 / 2007|| 1st Lieutenant Ivan Hasek |
Ivan Hasek flew P47s in Europe with the 353rd FS - The Fighting Cobras, 354th Fighter Group, attached to the 9th Air Force, scoring his first victory - against an Fw190, on Boxing Bay 1944. Converting to P5 IDs in early 1945 his tally continued to mount, and he finished his tour an Ace with 5.5 victories. Ivan Hasek passed away in December 2007.
|Brigadier General Thomas L Hayes|
|Died : 24 / 7 / 2008|| Brigadier General Thomas L Hayes |
Thomas Hayes was born in Portland, Oregon. In his career he was credited with a total of 10.5 victories - 8 and a half of these were German and two Japanese. During 1942 he was based in the South Pacific, at Java. During this time he was shot down by a Japanese Zero fighter over the island of Bali. Later in the war he was sent to Britain as a Squadron Commander, flying P51 Mustangs with the 357th Fighter Group - the Yoxford Boys. On 6th March 1944 he led his squadron on one of the first successful daylight raids on Berlin, where twenty enemy aircraft were shot down by the squadron, with all aircraft of the 357th Fighter Group returning safely. In his career he was awarder the Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart. Sadly, Thomas Hayes passed away on 24th July 2008, aged 91.
|Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Heller|| Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Heller |
Ed Heller joined the Service in 1942 and during World War II flew both the P-51 and P-47 in the European Theater with the 352nd Fighter Group, becoming an Ace with 5 1/2 victories. Flying F-86s with the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing in Korea he scored a further 3 1/2 victories before being shot down, resulting in two and a half years as a prisoner of war of the Chinese.
|Lieutenant Colonel William H Holloman III|| Lieutenant Colonel William H Holloman III |
Flew P51s with 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group during World War II, and after the war he flew P-47 Thunderbolts with the 301st Fighter Squadron. During the Korean War he was a Military Air Transport pilot picking up wounded soldiers for return to the US, and became the first black helicopter pilot in the US Air Force. After leaving the Air Force he became an airline pilot but was recalled to active duty in 1966, serving in Vietnam, Europe, and later returned to the Western Pacific.
|Air Vice-Marshal John Howe CB CBE AFC|| Air Vice-Marshal John Howe CB CBE AFC |
John Howe flew Spitfires, Mustangs and Vampires With the South African Air Force and F-5lD Mustang fighter bombers in the Korean War before joining the RAF 'to fly Hunters'. He commanded the first RAF Lightning squadron when No.74 Sqn converted from Hunters to Lightnings in 1960, and led the famous No.74 Sqn 'Tigers' nine-ship Lightning aerobatic team. He has flown all the legendary USAF 'century series' fighters, and later commanded the F-4 Phantom OCU and RAF Gutersloh.
|Second Lieutenant Elbert Hudson|| Second Lieutenant Elbert Hudson |
In September 1942 elbert Hudson joined up and went for pilot training at the Tuskegee flight school, graduating as a fighter pilot on P51Bs. He soon found himself posted to the 332nd fighter Group in Europe, where he undertook the first of many combat missions in June 1944. Elbert flew combat with the 332nd right through until the end of hostilities in May 1945.
|Flt. Lt. David Ince DFC|| Flt. Lt. David Ince DFC |
Flt. Lt. David Ince DFC was born in Glasgow and was educated at Aysgarth School and Cheltenham College. Failing to meet the eyesight standards for aircrew he became a gunner officer in 1940 and managed to pass a wartime RAF medical board at his third attempt. Seconded for Army Cooperation duties, he trained in Canada at 35 EFTS and 37 SFTS before returning to the UK to fly Hurricanes and Mustangs at 41 OTU. Subsequently converting to Typhoons he flew with 193 and 257 Squadrons, from Normandy until the end of hostilities in Europe, completing almost 150 sorties and being awarded an immediate DFC. He took a leading part in trials, demonstrations and the early operational use of Napalm. Almost shot down on one reconnaissance flight, he later devised and proved a camera installation for low level close up target photography, which was an immediate success. In the closing stages of the war he was leading 193 Squadron on shipping strikes in the Baltic. After attending the first post war course at The Empire Test Pilots School he returned to University to complete an engineering degree.
|Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson|| Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson |
Alexander joined the Red Tails 332nd Fighter Group at Ramitelli, Italy, flying long range escort missions for B17 and B24 bombers. On August 12th 1944, three days prior to the invasion of Southern France. he was shot down by ground fire while strafing coastal radar installations, spending the rest of the war as a PoW, and was liberated by General Pattons 3rd Army. On his return to the USA he became an instructor at Tuskegee Field.
|Colonel Arthur Jeffrey|| Colonel Arthur Jeffrey |
After arriving in Europe, Arthur Jeffrey became the top-scoring P-38 Ace with the 479th Fighter Group, and later became the Groups leading scorer after they converted to P-51s. He went on to command the 434th Fighter Group. Arthur had the distinction of being the first pilot to shoot down the Luftwaffes jet-rocket aircraft - the Me163. He flew 82 combat missions and was credited with 14 aerial victories.
|First Lieutenant Dale E Karger|
|Died : 5 / 10 / 2008|| First Lieutenant Dale E Karger |
Born in 1925, Dale Karger joined the Army Reserves and was commissioned a 2nd Lt, and rated a pilot in February 1944. He transferred to the 357th Fighter Group on 18th September 1944, scoring his first two victories on 5th December, both against Fw190s north of Berlin, followed by his first Me109 on 24th December. On 20th January he achieved Ace status when he notched up an Me262 jet north of Munich. Dale finished his tour with a tally of 7.5 victories, and was the third youngest American fighter Ace of World War II. Sadly, he passed away on 5th October 2008.
|Lieutenant Colonel Robert A Karr|| Lieutenant Colonel Robert A Karr |
Joining the USAAF in 1942, Robert Karr was commissioned in November 1943. In May 1944 he joined the 52nd Fighter Group flying the P51C Mustang in the 5th Fighter Squadron. Operating out of Madna Airfield in Italy, he got his first victory when he downed a Me109 near Udine on 9th June, adding two more a few weeks later. On 17th July, leading a flight of P51Ds, he shot down three more Me109s in a day near Blata, Poland. A P51 Ace with 6 victories to his credit, he retired from the service in 1976.
|Lieutenant Colonel Huie Lamb|| Lieutenant Colonel Huie Lamb |
Flying P-47s out of Duxford with the 82nd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group, he shot down an Me262 on 15th October 1944, one of the few P-47 pilots to achieve a jet victory. After converting to P51s he became one of an elite few by shooting down a second jet when he shared in the destruction of an Arado Ar234 blitz-bomber on 19th March 1945.
|Lt Col Charles Lane|| Lt Col Charles Lane |
Flew with the 332nd Fighter Group, the Tuskegee Airmen. Flight Officer Charles A. Lane Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended the Harriett Beecher Stowe Teachers College, but studies were interrupted in 1943 when he entered the forces. He flew 26 combat missions in P-47s and P-51s with The Tuskegee, in the 99th Squadron. He was in the forces for 27 years, flying fighters, transports and the B-52. He has The Air Medal with 3 O.L.C.s, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
|Capt John Lee|| Capt John Lee |
At the age of 18, John Lee joined the Army Air Corp and was assigned to the Gulf Coast Training Command in Texas receiving his Wings on March 15, 1944. Flying the P-51 Mustang he took part in 52 combat missions with the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group based at Kings Cliffe conducting high altitude escort missions to B-17 and B-24 Bombers. He was later promoted to Flight Commander and escorted British Mosquitos on Photo Reconnaissance Missions over Czechoslovakia, as well as low level strafing missions over the Channel, the Normandy landings and during the Battle of the Bulge.
|Air Commodore C D Kit North Lewis DSO DFC|
|Died : 25 / 3 / 2008|| Air Commodore C D Kit North Lewis DSO DFC |
After joining the Army in 1939, Kit North Lewis transferred to the RAF in 1940. In Aug 1941, after pilot training, he was posted to 13 Squadron, flying Blenheims, where he took part in the first 1000 bomber raids. After a spell with 26 Squadron, flying P-51 Mustangs, in Feb 1944 he joined 182 Squadron on Typhoons, as a Flight Commander. A few months later he was posted to command 181 Squadron. He led this squadron into France where it became part of 124 Typhoon Wing. In Aug 1944 he was promoted Wing Leader 124 Wing, where he remained until the end of the war. He died on 25th March 2008. 'Unfortunately my active participation in the Falaise operations was limited as I had a mild form of dysentery from 8th to 14th and I was sent home for a weeks recuperation from 16th to 24th August. However, I was very much involved on the 7th in the German attack at Mortain. I was leading 181 Squadron on an armed reconnaissance when Charles Green who was then the Wing Leader of 121 Wing reported large German tank concentrations at Mortain. Although this was inside the bomb line I accepted his verification and I immediately diverted to Mortain. There we found German tanks strung out along the road. We claimed 10 flamers. I followed this up with two more sorties in which we claimed another 7. There was very little flak, the main danger being the number of allied aircraft around the honey pot. During the period 6th to 21st August the Wing lost 9 pilots killed including Group Captain Charles Appleton and 4 taken POW.'
|Wing Commander James Lindsay DFC|| Wing Commander James Lindsay DFC |
Born in September 1922, James Doug Lindsay joined the RCAF in February 1941, training on Harvards. He was posted to the UK, arriving in March 1943 and joining 403 Sqn in October that year. In his first tour, he claimed 5 Me109s as well as 2 Fw190s, plus another damaged. Of the Me109s he shot down, three of these were in a single minute, earning him a DFC. For his second tour, he rejoined 403 Sqn in April 1945, claiming a probable Fw190 during his short time with this squadron before he moved to 416 squadron until the end of the war in Europe. After the war he stayed with the air force, and in 1952 served during the Korean war with the USAF. He flew F-86 Sabres with the 39th Fighter Squadron of the 51st Fighter Wing, claiming victories over two MiG-15s and damaging 3 others. In 1953, he returned to the UK with No.1 Fighter Wing leading Sabres in formation at the Queen's Coronation. He retired in 1972, having flown more than 30 different types of aircraft (excluding different Mks). These included, Harvard, Anson, Master, Spitfire, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane, Mustang, Beaufort, Beaufighter, Oxford, Dakota, Tiger Moth, Vampire and Sabre.
|Colonel Maurice Long|
|Died : 31 / 3 / 2008|| Colonel Maurice Long |
Maurice Long arrived in England in 1943, assigned to the 355th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group. Flying the P51B Mustang he served as a Flight Commander, operations Officer and Squadron Commander, achieving 8 and a half victories. In the ETO he took part in the vital D-Day missions over Normandy, later moving with the Squadron to French soil. In a long career he took part in 140 combat missions flying P51s in the ETO, and later F84s in Korea. Sadly, we have learned that Maurice Long passed away on 31st March 2008.
|Lt Gen George Loving|| Lt Gen George Loving |
George Loving first saw combat in 1943, and flew over 100 missions in Spitfires before the 31st Fighter Group converted to the P-51. He took part in air battles over Italy, France, Germany and many other European countries while serving in the Mediterranean Theater, becoming an Ace in the P-51. During the Korean War he commanded an F-80 Squadron flying 113 missions against the North Koreans and Chinese communist forces before retiring to the U.S.A. as a test pilot. He retired in 1979 as Commander, 5th Air Force in Japan.
|Captain Harvey Mace|| Captain Harvey Mace |
Harvey Mace arrived in England at the end of 1943 to join the 357th Fighter Group who were then stationed at Raydon.He flew all his 59 combat missions in P51 Mustangs with the 362nd Fighter Squadron, notching up three victories over Me109s along the way. Flying primarily on B17 bomber escort missions, Harvey went to nearly all the major strategic bombing targets in Europe, including the Shuttle missions from England to Russia, Italy and back again.Towards the end of his tour he was appointed Squadron Operations Officer, and then assigned as Fighter Controller of the 3rd Bomb Group.
|Colonel Walker Bud Mahurin|
|Died : 11 / 5 / 2010|| Colonel Walker Bud Mahurin |
Walker Melville Bud Mahurin was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on 5th December 1918. He joined the Army reserves on 29th September 1941 and entered flight training, being commissioned as a pilot on the 29th of April 1942 at Ellington Field Texas. 'Bud' Mahurin gained a reputation as one of the USAAF's most colourful fighter Aces. Arriving in the European theatre, flying with the 56th Fighter Group at Boxted, England, on the 17th of August the 56th Fighter group flew escort for the Eighth Air Force Bombers whose mission was to bomb Schweinfurt and Regensburg. They encountered a large force of German fighters and Bud Mahurin shot down two Fw190s. He went on to become an Ace on the 4th of October, and by the end of November he had achieved 10 kills. Bud Mahurin was promoted to Major on the 21st of March 1944. On the 27th of March he shared a victory of a Do217 but was hit by the bomber and was forced to bail out of his Thunderbolt, when his aircraft was set ablaze by the gunfire. Mahurin evaded the Germans with help of the French resistance and returned to Britian. He had by this time shot down 20 German aircraft. He then transferred to the south west Pacific Commanding the 3rd Air Commando Squadron where he added a Japanese aircraft to his score, shooting down a KI-46 Dinah, making hinm one of very few American pilots to shoot down German and Japanese aircraft. Mahurin saw combat from New Guinea to Okinawa. After this tour he returned to the US and was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. After the war he spent two tours at the Pentagon and went on to obtain an aeronautical engineering degree. During the Korean War 'Bud' Mahurin commanded the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group in Korea where he added 3.5 MiG-15s to his tally before being shot down in his Sabre. He was shot down by ground fire on the 13th of May 1952, and bailed out for the last time, to spend a gruelling sixteen months as a POW in North Korea undergoing extensive torture. Mahurin returned to the US and stayed in the USAF until 1956 when he worked for the aerospace industry. Sadly, Bud Mahurin passed away on 11th May 2010.
|Colonel Charles McGee|| Colonel Charles McGee |
Charles McGee graduated from flight school and shipped out to Italy in December 1943 as a flight Lieutenant in the 302nd fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. He flew missions in North Africa, Italy and Germany, and got his first victory on 24th August flying escort in the Ploesti oil field raid. After the war this outstanding flyer commanded fighter squadrons throughout the United States, Italy, the Philippines and Germany, logging up more than 6,100 hours in 409 combat missions spanning World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Serving in the armed forces for 30 years he holds the record of flying more combat missions than any other USAF pilot in history. Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1919, Charles MeGee, who was to become a Command Aviator who would fly combat missions in three different military conflicts, spent his childhood in Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa. Following two years attending the University of Illinois, WW 11 began, and McGee was sworn into the US Army enlisted reserves on October 26, 1942. He was accepted for pilot training in November and entered the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Training Program. McGee earned his wings and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in June 1943, as a member of Class 43-F at Tuskegee Army Air Field. He was assigned along with many of the other black pilots who had earned their wings at Tuskegee to the 332 nd Fighter Group in Italy. With the 302nd Fighter Squadron McGee trained in the P-40 and would later fly more than 82 tactical missions in the P-39. His fighter group was then transferred into the Fifteenth Air Force and he first flew the P-47 and several weeks later the P-51 Mustang. In this duty, along with other Tuskegee Airmen, McGee performed admirably surmounting many of the unfortunate hurdles placed in their path. The Tuskegee Ainnen became known for their superlative effort at protecting allied bombers from attacking German fighters. McGee is credited with downing one Fw- 190, and the destruction or damage of many others on the ground. He became a flight leader, was promoted to Captain, and after flying 54 more combat missions, returned to Alabama as a twin engine flight instructor. In 1950 McGee flew 100 more combat missions with the 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron of the 18th Fighter Group. He was then made Commander of the 44th Bomber Squadron flying out of Clark Field in the Philippines. Later he would serve with an F-89 Interceptor Squadron, and following a number of interesting operational and staff assignments he would serve as Commander of the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron deployed in Vietnam. In his year in Vietnam, McGee would fly another 173 missions. Later assignments included Air Liason Officer for USAEUR and 7th Army, Chief of Maintenance for the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Director of Maintenance Engineering for AF Communication Service, and Commander of Richards-Gebaur AFB, and the 1840 Air Base Wing. He retired from the USAF in 1973 with 6,300 flying hours, including 1,100 hours flown on fighter combat missions. Col. McGee earned a BA Degree in Business Administration and worked for many years in the real estate business with ISC Financial Corporation. He also served as Director of Administration forthe city of Prairie Village, Kanasas, and as Manager of the downtown Kansas City Airport. Now fully retired Charles lives with his wife, the former Frances Nelson of Champaign, Illinois. The McGees have three children, ten grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. His numerous decorations include the Legion of Merit with one cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two clusters, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with 25 clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one cluster, a Presidential Unit Citation, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, to name only a few.
|Captain Donald Mac McKibben|| Captain Donald Mac McKibben |
Don McKibben was one of the original cadre of pilots with the 352nd Fighter Group. He flew 80 combat missions with the 486th Fighter Squadron in P-47s and P-51s until September 1944. He flew the famous P-51 Miss Lace and with the others of the 486th took part in the first shuttle mission to Russia led by Don Blakeslee of the 4th Fighter Group. McKibben is credited with 2 aerial victories and 1 probable.
|Major James McLane|| Major James McLane |
Flew P-51 Mustangs with the 357th Fighter Group. James C. McLane Jr. left Clemson College in 1943 to join the Army Air Corp. He graduated in Class 44B at Marianna, Florida, being commissioned a 2nd Lt. Rated Pilot. He instructed Advanced Single Engine student pilots for two classes, and then at Punta Gorda in the Fighter Pilot Replacement Unit he received 6 months training in P-40 aircraft. Early in 1945 McLane was assigned to fly P-51s with the famed 357th fighter group, the “Yoxford Boys” stationed in Leiston England. He was placed in the 362nd fighter squadron led by 3 times ace Leonard K. “Kit” Carson. Initially he flew borrowed aircraft, but then was assigned G4-V, tail number 414798. This plane had seen lots of action, first as Master Mike and later as Butch Baby, the mount of Col. Joseph Broadhead and Lt. Julian H. Bertram respectively. The P-51 was stripped of paint and re-identified on the nose as Dainty Dotty in honor of his wife Dorothy. McLane flew bomber escort and experienced a memorable mission as Carson’s wingman hunting for ME-262’s. After the war, he flew C-123 and C-130 aircraft in the Air Force Reserves, retiring as a Major.
|Sqn Ldr Jurek Mencel DFC, KM*** AFM***|| Sqn Ldr Jurek Mencel DFC, KM*** AFM*** |
Flying with the French Air Force he fought in the Battle of France but was hospitalised after breaking his back in a crash in mid-1940. Returning to operations with 317 Polish Sqn, his first mission was on Spitfires escorting the RAF Bombers taking part in the engagement that lead to the German ‘Channel Dash’. He flew Spitfires throughout the Normandy Invasion also flying Hurricanes and Mustangs with 308 and 309 Sqn’s scoring victories against Me109's and Me108's and on the 9th April 1945 he shot down an Me262 Jet over Hamburg.
|Captain George Middleton|| Captain George Middleton |
Joining the 352nd Fighter Group in March 1944, George flew 85 combat sorties with them until the end of hostilities in May 1945. He flew P-51 'Worra Bird', and acted as wingman to both George Preddy and Don Bryan on many occasions. George is credited with 2 aerial victories.
|Lt Col Raymond R Mitchell|| Lt Col Raymond R Mitchell |
Ray Mitchell flew 69 combat missions with the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group from August 1944 until late April 1945, his P-51 was Carol. He flew as George Preddys wingman many times and was in his flight on 25th December 1944 when Preddy was killed by friendly ground fire chasing after an enemy aircraft. ray is credited with 1 aerial victory.
|Lieutenant Colonel Don Nee|| Lieutenant Colonel Don Nee |
Don Nee flew Spitfires with 152 and 64 Squadrons RAF before being unified with other Americans into the first Eagle Squadron, No.71. He transferred to the 4th Fighter Group's 336th Fighter Squadron in September 1942 and flew 119 missions in P-47s and P-51s, becoming a flight commander.
|Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC* AFC|| Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC* AFC |
Tom Neil was born on 14th July 1920 in Bootle, Lancashire. Tom Neil (also to become known in the RAF as 'Ginger') joined the RAFVR in October 1938 and began his flying training at 17 E and RFTS, Barton, Manchester. Tom Neil was called up on the 2nd os September 1939 being sent to 4 ITW, Bexhill in early November. On 1st December 1939, he was posted to 8 FTS and on completion of the course he was commissioned and posted to 249 Squadron in May 1940 flying Hurricanes just before the start of the Battle of Britain flying from North Weald. On 7th September 1940, Tom Neil encountered and claimed a Bf109 destroyed. On the 11th an He111, on the 15th two Bf109s and a Do17 destroyed and another Do17 shared, on the 18th an He111 damaged and on the 27th a Bf110 and a Ju88 destroyed, a Bf110 probably destroyed and a Ju88 shared. On 6th October Tom Neil shared a Do17, on the 25th claimed a Bf109 destroyed, on the 27th a Do17 probably destroyed, on the 28th a Ju88 shared and on 7th November a Ju87 and two Bf109s destroyed. He was awarded a DFC on 8 October, but on 7 November, after claiming 3 victories over the North Sea off the Essex coast, he collided in mid-air with Wing Commander Francis Beamish and his aircraft lost its tail. He baled out of his Hurricane unhurt, Beamish force-landing unscathed. Tom received a Bar to his DFC on 26 November, and on 13 December was promoted flight Commander. The squadron was posted to Malta in May 1941, flying off HMS Ark Royal on the 21st. During a summer of frequent scrambles, he claimed one further victory in June, while on 7th October he led a fighter-bomber attack on Gela station, Sicily. He departed the island in December 1941, returning to the UK via the Middle East, South and West Africa, and Canada, finally arriving in March 1942, when he became tactics officer with 81 Group. A spell as an instructor at 56 OTU, before being posted as a flying liaison officer with the 100th Fighter Wing of the US 9th Air Force in January 1944. He managed to get some flying in over France with this unit, claiming a share in 6 aircraft destroyed on the ground before D-Day, and a dozen or so more later, plus a number of other ground targets. In January 1945 he was sent to the school of Land/Air Warfare as an instructor. In March 1945 he was posted out to Burma, where he undertook some operations with 1 Wing, Indian Air Force, to gain experience of the operations in this area. Returning to the UK in April, he resumed instructing at the school until the end of the year. In January 1946 he attended the Empire Test Pilots School, undertaking No.4 short course and No.5 course, a total of 18 months. Posted briefly to Farnborough, he sought a move to Boscombe Down, where he stayed for some 3 years. In 1948 in went to Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, to take part in the first high altitude pressure suit experiments, as a precursor to the aerospace programme. 1950-51 he was a staff officer at HQ, Fighter Command, while in 1952 he attended the staff college at Bracknell. He was then given command of 208 Squadron in Egypt, which he led until 1956, leaving just before the Suez operation. He returned to the UK to become W/Cdr Operations, Metropolitan sector, until 1958, when he attended the flying college at Manby. He went to the British Embassy in Washington for 3 years from 1959, returning to the Ministry of Defence but retiring from the service as a Wing Commander in 1964. Meanwhile he had added the US Bronze Star to his decorations in august 1947, and an AFC in January 1956.
|Captain William Bee OBrien|
|Died : 5 / 3 / 2006|| Captain William Bee OBrien |
William O'Brien was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His father Terence O'Brien was an oil-field worker, and his mother, Agnes, was a nurse. Obee O'Brien graduated from Oklahoma Military Academy and trained as a pilot before joining the U.S. Army Air Corps service in 1942. He took flight training at Luke Field in Phoenix and in Nevada before arriving in England in late 1943. Willaim OBee O'Brien flew P-51 Mustangs with the 357th Fighter Group, scoring his first enemy plane on March 6th, 1944, during a bomber escort mission to Berlin. He flew 77 combat missions, most with the 363rd Fighter Squadron, and became an Ace, with 5 victories. During his service with the 357th Fighter Group's 363th Fighter Squadron of the 8th US Air Force, O'Brien also earned eight Air Medals, including Distinguished Flying Crosses and the French Croix de Guerre. The French decoration was a unit citation bestowed in recognition of the role of the 357th Fighter Group in the liberation of France. After the war, O'Brien earned bachelors and masters degrees at the University of Tulsa, becoming a geophysicist for Stabdard Oil Company. Sadly Captain William Bee O'Brien died on Sunday 5th March 2006 of heart problems. He was 84.
|Colonel Charles Older|
|Died : 17 / 6 / 2006|| Colonel Charles Older |
Charles Herman Older, born on 29 September 1917 in Hanford, California, graduated from the University of California in 1939 with a degree in political science. No the 1st April 1940 Charles Herman Older joined the Marine Corps for flight training, he received his wings and commission at Pensacola. Resigning from the Marine Corps in 1941 to join the A.V.G., Chuck Older took part in the great 'Christmas' air battles over Rangoon shooting down 5 Japanese aircraft. With 10.25 victories to his credit he joined the 23rd F G when the A.V.G. was disbanded, flying P-51s. He led the first strike against Shanghai resulting in the destruction of 77 Japanese aircraft. He completed the war with 18.25 air victories. After leaving the Air Force Colonel Chuck Older obtained a law degree from the University of Southern California and subsequently became a superior court judge in Los Angeles, California. He gained prominence as the presiding judge in the Charles Manson mass murder trial in 1970-71. Charles Older died on the 17th June 2006.
|Brigadier General Robin Olds|
|Died : 14 / 6 / 2007|| Brigadier General Robin Olds |
After leaving West Point in June 1943, Robin Olds was posted to the 479th Fighter Group in England, joining 434 Squadron. Based at Wattisham in East Anglia, and flying P-38s, he was involved in heavy bomber escort duties and fighter sweeps until the Normandy invasion, soon after which his Squadron converted to P51 Mustangs. by early 1945 Robin Olds was in command of 434 Squadron taking part in the Battle of the Bulge, flying escort missions, and providing air support to the airborne attack across the Rhine. At the end of World War II Robin Olds had 24.5 victories, of which 13 were in the air. Later in Vietnam Robin Olds gained four more victories, flying F4 Phantoms and flew with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing. Sadly, Robin Olds passed away on 14th June 2007.
|Captain William B. Overstreet|| Captain William B. Overstreet |
Posted to England in November 1943 to join the 363rd fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group at Leiston Bill Overstreet flew his P51 combat mission on 12th February 1944. He commanded nearly 50 combat missions during his tour with the 357th FS, taking part in escorting the big raids to Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzeig and many other city targets as well as participating in escort missions to Russia from Italy. Shot down once he managed to escape to freedom after two days capacity. Returning stateside in October 1944.
|Major General Cuthbert Bill Pattillo|| Major General Cuthbert Bill Pattillo |
Bill Pattillo was assigned to the 487th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group and flew 135 combat missions in P-51 Mustangs from November 1944 until he was shot down over Germany in April 1945 and taken as a PoW until liberated on 2nd May 1945. Bill was credited with destroying 1 Me262 jet in aerial combat plus another 6 enemy aircraft on the ground. After the war he flew with the first USAF Thunderbird team. Following a highly distinguished post-war career he retired from the Air Froce as a General.
|Flt Lt Joseph Peterburs|| Flt Lt Joseph Peterburs |
Joe Peterburs enlisted in the US Army Air Corps on the 30th of November, 1942 and was called to active duty as an Aviation Cadet on 26th January, 1943. On 15th April, 1944 after a rigorous flying training program, he received his pilots wings and commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. After graduation he flew the P-40N and A-24 during combat replacement training. On 6th November, 1944 Lt. Peterburs arrived in England and was assigned to the 55th Fighter Squadron of the 20th Fighter Group. He was 19 years old. The unit was equipped with the P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft and he quickly checked out in a P-51B and accumulated about 20 hours in the B, C and D models before flying combat. He flew many memorable missions, the 49th and last of which was the most exciting. On this mission, 10 April, 1945, Joe Peterburs shot down German Ace Walter Schuck in his Me262 turbo jet. Later that day Joe Peterburs was also shot down by enemy ground fire while strafing an airfield. He was captured, escaped and fought with a Russian tank unit to the battle of Wittenberg on the Elbe.