By Michael C McCarthy
FROM the writer: Pearl Harbor galvanized the United States to transform peacetime construction means to conflict degrees, accentuate recruiting, and extend each aspect of its army education process. these folks who desired to fly came upon on Monday, eight December 1941, tough written try out could fulfill the 2 years of faculty prerequisite to go into the Aviation Cadet aircrew-training software. We nonetheless confronted a rigorous actual examination and batteries of mental and intelligence reviews plus particular flair assessments. the method was once excessive, challenging, and time eating. in simple terms forty-one survivors of a number of hundred unique candidates within the Boston region grew to become aviation cadets on 18 March 1942. 5 days later, we said to Santa Ana military Air Base, California, for preflight training—the first of 4 stages en path to pilot, navigator, or bombardier wings. Santa Ana was once a brand new base with out roads or constructions. Tents have been used for each objective. The wettest wet season in years switched over the bottom right into a muddy quagmire. Amazingly, this system stayed on agenda regardless of nearly most unlikely residing and dealing stipulations. i discovered a outstanding can-do angle to be attribute of military group of workers in each step of the educational approach. Our category opened a brand new basic flight college in Scottsdale and a brand new uncomplicated flight tuition in Marana, either in Arizona. Neither used to be prepared for occupancy, however the military made do and opened on time, generating graduates who met direction of completion criteria regardless of seen handicaps. On four January 1943, type 43-A graduated from Luke box on time table with greater than four hundred new pilots. different complicated flying bases produced comparable numbers to supply a gradual movement of younger americans to aid theater requisites for wrestle aircrews. Operational P-40 education in Sarasota, Florida, all started weeks later. The agenda supplied the mandatory forty hours for every folks in 8 weeks. through the top of March, we pronounced to Dale Mabry box, Tallahassee, Florida, for in another country processing. With our apparatus, we boarded a brand new four-engine C-54 for Africa through Miami, Trinidad, Belem, Ascension Island, and Accra. many folks volunteered to ferry P-40s from Lagos (down the coast from Accra) via equatorial Africa to Cairo—an not likely saga, accomplished successfully—without maps or navigational aids. That ferry journey was once the 1st instance of an indomitable can-do decision to accomplish the undertaking. That angle turned the defining attribute of management philosophy within the 57th Fighter staff. these chosen for positions of better accountability needed to reveal management capability—the skill to imagine stressed and the selection to get the task performed. The final chapters specialise in highlights of the extra memorable missions that happened in the course of years of sour scuffling with among implacable enemies—one who by no means gave floor willingly, and person who by no means hand over searching for a greater method to get the activity performed. For the main half, the occasions are actual debts with due allowance for fallible stories of members who've survived a few 60 years when you consider that those occasions demanded and got entire focus from all who have been a part of the 57th Fighter workforce. At a contemporary amassing of previous fighter pilots, every body agreed with the series of the missions yet each one folks had a distinct reminiscence of the place we have been flying within the formation. Air collage.
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Additional info for Air-To-Ground Battle for Italy
Messina Straits was both the German escape route from Sicily to Italy as well as their supply route. They massed a tremendous number of 88-mm guns, dangerous at our best altitudes between 8,000–15,000 feet. An array of 40- and 20-mm guns, deadly below 8,000 feet, made the combination an effective defense system. Our most important targets, flat-bottomed boats and barges, brought troops, tanks, trucks, and heavy equipment through the straits. I was now Maj Buck Bilby’s wingman. This day we had already flown two dive-bombing missions against shipping in the straits through flak so heavy we were diving through black clouds with vivid red centers as shells exploded.
Since both were built to the same specifications, there was no difference in cockpit procedures. According to the chief, the Merlin ran rougher but he understood it was tougher, would take more abuse, and last longer before overhaul under combat conditions. With that, he strapped me in the cockpit, and I fired up the P-40F. It was exciting to fly a new airplane. Everything gleamed, and the instrument glass was spotless. I was impressed with this crew chief. He was serious, conscientious, and thorough, qualities I found in the great chiefs with whom I worked in my flying career.
German Ju 88s or He 111s had been bombing and strafing randomly most nights to cause damage and harass our troops. Maj Buck Bilby, commander, 64th Squadron welcomed us, introduced our tent mates, and told us to get settled and meet the squadron at dinner. The changing of the guard began slowly with our arrival at Kairouan a few days after the Palm Sunday Massacre. Within days, the group had added a dozen new guys to each squadron 22 THREE MUSKETEERS TIMES TWO bringing the group to full strength.