Stories from the Pilots and Men of the 475th Fighter Group

Lightning Strikes: Chapter 7

I Have Returned": Leyte to Lingayan, August-December 1944 The following text is taken from the book "Lightning Strikes: The 475th Fighter Group in the Pacific War, 1943-1945. By Ronald W. Yoshino "The Japanese had sustained almost continuous blows through 1944 and as they watched their defensive perimeters shrink, they fell back consolidating holdings. Two American offensives in the Pacific placed the enemy squarely in a crossfire. This dilemma worsened in the face of extreme American mobility, carrier task forces that struck at will, and the "silent service," U.S. submarines that by the end of 1944 had sunk 600 Japanese vessels...

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Arthur L. Peregoy Newspaper Clippings

Allied Headquarters, Southwest Pacific, May 3 (AP)- Arthur L. Peregoy, of 919 West North Avenue, Baltimore, was one of seven American officers awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Lieutenant General George C. Kenney, commander of Allied air forces in the Southwest Pacific. Citations said their operations included flying escort to bombers and transport aircraft, interception and attack missions and patrol flights. Their strafing and bombing attacks on Japanese bases were "made from dangerously low altitudes, destroying and damaging enemy installations and equipment." (Picture Caption as appeared in paper: MEDAL FOR BALTIMOREAN - Honored for "extraordinary achievement" while taking part in...

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Black Sunday

by 1st Lt. Calvin Wire 16 April,1944 at Nadzab. On this day, the 475th FG lost more men in a single day to weather related accidents, than in any combat action with the enemy. Here is a survivors tale....... Our mission today is escorting B-24's and B-25's to Hollandia. This is to be our 7th mission of softening of the general area prior to the proposed landing of the Army and Marines. The weather reports of last two days have been bad, with the possibility of a hurricane moving in. The meteorologists strongly recommended that all flights be canceled, however...

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Love Letter to the P-38

Orphaned early, there were still happy hours swimming in the Monongahela River and playing baseball with improvised equipment, as part of the diverse small-town gang growing up in Waterbox, Pa. Maturing was tough, as farming and coal mining were the only jobs to be had, but a deep love of airplanes led him to walk 32 miles and join the Army Air Corps in 1939. After training and working on various models of Fighter Aircraft, he was chosen for a special mission ferrying P-40's on the carrier Wasp to Iceland. Shipped overseas after Pearl Harbor with the 8th Fighter Group...

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Pete Madison’s Narrow Escape with Death

On a fighter sweep from Biak, Maj. Thomas McGuire led Hades Squadron over the harbor at Manokwari, Vogelkop. Spotting a small freighter, he ordered the Lightning's down in a strafing run. When queried about releasing belly tanks, the Major replied in the negative. The freighter would take nothing to finish and the patrol could continue. His men complied. A P- 38 encumbered with 165 gallon drop tanks was a fearsomely heavy thing that in combat had two disadvantages. A single tracer bullet hit in those gas-laden containers can turn an airplane into a fireball. Young lieutenant H. N. "Pete" Madison...

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Dates and Events in the Legacy of a W.W.II Fighter Pilot

by Maj. Gen. Hal Gray Jr. "PER ARDUA AD ASTRA" DATES AND EVENTS IN THE LEGACY OF A W.W.II FIGHTER PILOT 1931-1935 "My flying career began with the Meade Glider; Heath Parasol; Mohawk Pinto; OXS Waco 10 and Travel-Air 3000." 1936 Multi-engine in Lockheed's 10, 11, & 12, while attending the University of Minnesota. 1940 March Signed on first contract with RCAF to ferry Lockheed Hudsons to Britain. Upon arrival contract was canceled. The RAF desperately needed pilots in all categories. I was offered a transfer to the RAF to fly bombers, but I opted for fighters. In honor of...

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A Story with a Moral

Our own Gladstone Mortimer was tooling along a Florida highway, slightly below Mach I, when a Smoky invited him to pull over so they could have a discussion. Expecting the worst he did as requested. Refusing a blindfold he awaited his fate. When the Officer noticed the 475th license plate frame and the fact the Gladstone was wearing a 475th Tee shirt he said, "You must have thought you were flying a fighter plane". He was then told he could forget the ticket but he was to remember he was on the highway not in the wild blue yonder. Figuring...

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A Gallant Foe

Lt. Gen.(ret) Takahashi as a foe. The 475th Fighter Group and its Museum have been honored by a donation and a visit from a former foe. Lt. Gen. Masaji Takahashi (Ret) was a Japanese pilot during WWII and fought against the 475th Fighter Group over the skies of Manila in 1945. Following the War, Takahashi remained in the service and in 1955 served as defense attaché at Japan's Embassy in the USA. He retired from the military in 1972 as a Lt. Gen. He then went on to become a corporate executive. Bridging a 50 year gap, with Pete Madison,...

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A Few Words about Thomas McGuire

by Major General Franklin Nichols When I graduated from flying school in April 1941, I was assigned to Wheeler Field, Hawaii to fly fighters. I was elated, as this was my first choice and I arrived there ready to be a gung-ho fighter pilot and enjoy living it up in Hawaii. Then in December 1941, the Japanese changed my life forever and we were playing a different game. It became a matter of survival--- kill or be killed. In August of 1942, I volunteered for the Fifth Air Force in Australia and joined the 7th Fighter Squadron, 49th fighter group...

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Hades Squadron

By Harry Brown The world seemed covered with dripping mist With walls of dismal gray. Even the plane seemed to resist When pulled from the hangar that day. But everything was soon on board And my walk-around begun. Then I fired it up and taxied toward My rendezvous with fun. The mags were checked, prop in low pitch My full run-up was done. Controls were free-the mixture rich. I began my take-off run. I lifted the nose and became airborne Into the overcast. When that eerie mist was suddenly torn And I found myself in the past. And I was...

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First of a series of experiences by P.J. Dahl

The year was 1943 on a beautiful November day and WWII was in full swing. As a Second Lt. with only a few combat missions under my belt I was assigned as tail end Charley for a mission to Lae, New Guinea led by our then commander of the 432nd.Fighter Squadron, call sign Clover. Upon reaching the target area you could see the build up of cumulus clouds that seemed to inevitably form over the land areas. Somebody in the flight of 18 aircraft sighted bogies and called them out to Clover red leader and he began an immediate climb...

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Sky

Eternal sky, How I feel your love Your haunting presence Tugging, calling, beckoning for me. You are like my heart: A beat, A rhythm that consumes my body With warmth and longing To be held by your vast, pure and tender Infinite greatness. I will ride your ebbing and flowing breath On wings of silver Through your sunlit, golden chambers That unite us in a dance That only our souls know. Loving sky, How I need to use you to climb To heights that dazzle the minds of men, I will soar and dive, And test my internal strength, My...

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Longest “Single Engine” flight Over Water

by 1st Lt. Joe Forster MISSION: Escort B-24s at 18,000 feet over the target of oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo on 14 October 1944 The 475th Fighter Group flew from it's home base at Biak, New Guinea on 13 Oct 1944 to Morotai, Halmahera, an austere staging base for B-24s, P-38s and P-47s. Creature comforts were non-existent, worst of all no lights or running water. Pilots had to refuel and preflight their aircraft. The next morning pilots were roused from their bare cots at four AM and instructed by Group Commander, Lt. Col. Smith, to build a large bon-fire while...

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The Split-S that Failed

By Col. H.B. Reeves The 431st FS launched eight P-38's from Clark Field early the morning of March 28th, 1945. We, along with other P-38's from the 475th FG, were to escort a Group of B-25's whose mission was to strike Japanese shipping along the China coast. As a result of the great distance to the target, it was necessary to carry maximum fuel. Additionally, we had been given a secondary mission of glide bombing. For this mission, we were loaded with a 2,000 General Purpose bomb on one shackle and a 300 gallon fuel tank on the other. This...

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Three Short Tales

"I'm with the air force, not the infantry!!" After forming the 432nd Fighter Squadron in the year 1943, the men of our group left on a ship from Amberly Field, Australia, heading towards Port Moresby, in New Guinea. When we arrived off the shore of Port Moresby, we got into an LCI, or Landing Craft. At that time, it was mid afternoon. The man driving the LCI told us all to make sure to duck down for the landing. He also said to make sure we were wearing our helmets, and that we were carrying our guns. We approached the...

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