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  • History



    328th Fighter Squadron
    Code: PE

    486th Fighter Squadron
    Code: PZ

    487th Fighter Squadron
    Code: HO

    The information in this article is courtesy of the 352nd Fighter Group Association. Each of the fighter squadron images above is a link to their website plus there is also a link to the Association's website at the bottom of this article and the top left of this page in the Related 352nd FG Sites box. Please take the time to check out their site for a much more in depth look at the achievements of the 352nd Fighter Group individually and as a squadron when you get the chance.

    Like one of America's mighty rivers, the 352nd FG had its beginnings in the merging of smaller units into a superb fighting force which would account for 776 enemy aircraft destroyed, fourth among all 8th Air Force units.

    The 352nd Fighter Group was constituted in Sept 1942 and activated at Brandley Field, CT on October 1, 1942. Two of its squadrons, the 21st (later changed to the 486th) and the 34th (later changed to the 487th) had long combat histories, but like the newly formed 328th, were short on experienced personnel. Early flight training in the P-47 Thunderbolts was at Westover, Trumbell, LaGuardia and Mitchel fields. Most of the enlisted personnel, Det. "A" of the 1st Service Group arrived in January, 1943.

    The Group embarked from New York harbor July 1, 1943, arriving in Scotland July 5th and a few days later reached their new base at Bodney, England. Training for combat became intense those next few months.

    The Group flew its first combat mission on September 9, 1943, an uneventful sweep out over the North Sea to escort returning B-17s. Some 40 pilots participated in this mission. Although the 352nd had several minor encounters with the enemy in their early missions, it wasn't until November 26th that Major J. C. Meyer, C.O. of the 487th Squadron scored their first victory-an Me-109 attacking the bombers near Gronigen-the first of many victories for the 352nd.

    During WWII the 352nd flew 420 missions, 59,387 operational combat hours, destroyed 776 enemy aircraft and had 29 aerial aces. Returning to the U.S. at war's end, the unit was deactivated.

    Highlights and Outstanding Achievements of the 352nd FG

    • Among leading aces of the AAF and USAF in both WWII and the Korean War, 352nd pilots Col J.C. Meyer ranks second; Major Bill Whisner ranks fifth; and Lt Col Ed Heller ranks nineteenth. Whisner was one of only seven pilots that became an ace in both WWII and the Korean War.

    • Among the leading Allied air aces of WWII, two 352nd pilots, Major George Preddy and Col J.C. Meyer ranked sixth and seventh.

    • The 352nd can claim more "aces in a day" with five victories on one mission than any other Mustang group in either theater. George Preddy (six Me109's), Don Bryan (five FW190's), Carl J. Luksic (four FW190's, one Me109), and William T. Whisner (five FW190's) led the way.

    • The top two Mustang aces were Major George E Preddy, Jr. with 23.83 aerial victories in the P-51 and Col. J.C. Meyer with 21 Mustang victories. Maj. Preddy scored three more victories in a P-47D for a total of 26.83, and Col. Meyer also scored three in a P-47D for a total of 24.

    • Seven 352nd pilots became "ground aces in a day", destroying five or more in ground attacks.

    • Twelve 352nd pilots scored aerial victories over German jet fighters.
    • Twenty-nine of the USAAF's aerial aces over Europe were 352nd pilots.

    • Ten 352nd pilots were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the 2nd highest U.S. combat award. Col J.C. Meyer receiving the DSC three times and Captain Bill Whisner twice. Lt Ed Heller got the DSC for setting the 8th AF strafing record.

    • Seven 352nd pilots continued their military careers and attained the rank of General. One of these, Col J. C. Meyer, the only fighter pilot in WWII to attain four-star rank, commanded the Strategic Air Command and later became the Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. The seven Generals from the 352nd were: John C. Meyer, Luther Richmond, Sanford Moats, Bill Pattillo, Buck Pattillo, Glenn Moran, and Gustav Lundquist.

    • Twin-brothers Bill and Buck Pattillo, both pilots in the 352nd, later flew with the first USAF Thunderbird team. Both went on to attain General rank.

    • One 352nd squadron was the only 8th Air Force Squadron to be awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation. This award came after a mission flown from a Belgian airfield during Operation Bodenplatte when 12 pilots of the 487th, led by Colonel Meyer, shot down 24 attacking German fighters without a loss while under a strafing attack on takeoff.

    • The 486th Squadron participated in the first "Shuttle Mission" flown by the 8th AF from England to Russia to Italy to England escorting bombers to targets en-route. On this mission, Lt. Ed Heller scored the longest range fighter victory of the war with a victory over Poland.

    352nd Fighter Group ASSN

  • Audio

    The Merlin

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