354th Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group.


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A Bf-110 falls victim to Mustang guns.

Visit the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama website for Aerial Victory Credits and other Air Force Historical Reports and Documents.
 

Home  |  History of the 354th Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group during World War II - Valor in Combat

Aces of the 354th Fighter Group

What makes an Ace

An ace is a military fighter pilot who shoots down five or more enemy aircraft in aerial combat during the course of their tour. The action had to occur between December 7, 1941 to September 2, 1945.

The enemy aircraft had to be airborne, heavier than air, manned, and armed. Destruction involved shooting an enemy aircraft down, causing the pilot to bail out, intentionally ramming the airplane to make it crash, or maneuvering it into the ground or water. If the enemy airplane landed, despite its degree of damage, it was not counted as destroyed.

It was not uncommon for a destroyed enemy aircraft to be shared between two or more pilots, thus getting ½ to ¼ credit. Some commands also credited aircraft destroyed on the ground as equal to aerial victories.

There has only been a handful of American fighter pilots who became “ace in a day”, Lt. Bruce Carr of the 353rd Fighter Squadron was the only 354th Fighter Group pilot to accomplished that remarkable feat.

Upon return and debriefing, pilots would officially file a “Encounter Report” to claim a destroyed enemy aircraft or as a supporting statement to a witnessed engagement. Encounter reports were a detailing account of aerial engagement(s) against an enemy aircraft. Wing mounted gun cameras were also reviewed to help confirm a destroyed claim. Credits were awarded as destroyed, probable, or damaged enemy aircraft. 

The “encounter report” below was taken from historical archives.

 

C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T-I-A-L
355TH FIGHTER SQUADRON
354TH FIGHTER GROUP
STATION 150, APO # 638
ENCOUNTER REPORT

A. Combat
B. 31 December 1943
C. 355th Fighter Squadron
D. 1245
E. Over Bordeaux
F. 2/10 Low Clouds
G. Me 109
H. One E/A destroyed
I. Our squadron, in which I was blue flight leader, was flying at an altitude of 25,000 ft. approximately 5,000 feet above bombers. I noticed a straggler (B-24) being attacked by three (3) Me 109’s. I reported this to my squadron leader and went to the assistance of the straggler. As we dove the bomber was hit and started to spin down, the E/A began to circle the bomber and picked out my target, joined the circle, closed to about two hundred (200) feet and gave him a three (3) second burst. He went to pieces and I saw smoke coming out of the cockpit, another two (2) second burst and he exploded. He took no evasive action.

Robert W. Stephens (signature)
Robert W. Stephens
1st Lt., Air Corp.

Lt William Davis, wingman to Lt. Stephens, stayed above to cover his flight leader, filed a "encounter report", confirming the successful attack and destruction of the Me 109.

The following list shows group pilots that achieve the title of ace.     

353rd Fighter Squadron Ace List
Name Destroyed

Maj. Glenn T. Eagleston

Capt. Don M. Beerbower

Lt. Col. Jack T. Bradley, 353/HQ

Lt. Bruce Carr
Capt. Kenneth H. Dahlberg

Capt. Wallace N. Emmer

Lt. Carl M. Frantz

Lt. Loyd J. Overfield

Maj. James B. Dalglish

Lt. Don McDowell

Lt. William Y. Anderson
Lt. Robert Reynolds

Capt. Felix M. Rogers

Lt. Edward E. Hunt
Lt. Charles W. Koeing

Lt. Carl G. Bickel
Lt. Andrew J. Ritchey

Lt. Ivan S Hasek, Jr.
Lt. Franklin Rose, Jr.

Lt Henry S. Rudolph

Lt Kenneth Wise

18.5

15.5

15

15

14

14

11

11

9

8.5

7

7

7

6.5

6.5

5.5

5

5

5

5

5

355th Fighter Squadron Ace List
Name Destroyed

Maj. Robert W. Stephens, 355/HQ

Maj. Lowell K. Brueland
Capt. Charles W. Lasko
Capt Warren S. Emerson

Capt. Clayton K. Gross

Lt. Charles E. Gumm, Jr.
Lt. William J. Simmons

Lt. William B. King

Capt. Maurice G. Long

Maj. Gilbert Talbot

13

12.5

7.5

6

6

6

6

5.5

5.5

5

356th Fighter Squadron Ace List
Name Destroyed

Lt Col. Richard E. Turner

Capt. Frank Q O'Conner
Col. James H. Howard, 356/HQ

Maj. George Max Lamb
Lt. Robert E. Goodnight
Lt. Robert D. Welden
Lt. Edward E. Bickford
Lt. Robert L. Shoup

Lt. Thomas F. Miller

Capt. Richard W. Asbury

Capt. Harry E. Fisk
Capt. Jack Warner

11

10.75

8.3 (includes 3 kills with the AVG/China)

7.5

7.25

6.25

5.5

5.5

5.25

5

5

5

The Army Air Forces awarded close to 15,800 aerial victory credits during World War II. Approximately 690 American pilots scored at least 5 aerial victory credits during the war.

 

 
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Credits

History in the Sky - 354th Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group; 354th FG Association, Editor: Capt. Arthur F. Brown.

USAAF (European Theater) credits for the destruction of enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat, World War II; Frank J. Olynyk