An information plaque that inlcludes images of William W. "Will" Louie, 356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group is displayed next to James H. Howard's bronze plaque.
The above plaque reads:
Before America entered the war Will trained as an instrument mechanic, working on compasses and gyros. He enlisted at age 19 in 1943. Upon joining the squadron he realised they no longer needed instrument mechanics so was assigned to painting the aircraft. Will's comrades soon discovered he had a flare for artwork and he was asked to produce nose art for P51 Mustang aircraft. Will always admired his Squadron Commander, Jim Howard. Will had produced the nose art on Jim's aircraft.
Will commissioned the Bronze plaque, which his daughter, Maria, presented to the museum when she visited in 2018 for the 75th Anniversary Commemoration. Will was unable to travel but send a video message. The plaque is mounted on a piece of English Oak.
William W. Louie Video Message
This interview premiered at the Boxted Airfield Museum on May 27, 2018 as part of the 75th Anniversary of Boxted Airfield. Will Louie shares his memories of his life leading up to time at Boxted during World War II.
Special acknowledgement to Maria Louie (Interviewer), Mark Teboe (Camera), Jon M. Teboe - JMT Productions (Editor and Producer). Special thanks to Lisa Louie, Jim Kier and Richard Turner.
For a video history of the 354th Fighter Group see “Heroes of the 354th Fighter Group”, by Jon Teboe.
James H. Howard Bronze Plaque
Bronze plaque commissioned by Will Louie, was presented by his daughter Maria to the Boxted Airfield Museum during their 75th Anniversary Commemoration in 2018.
The Bronze plaque reads:
Lt. Col. James H. Howard
April 13, 1913 - March 19, 1975
Flying from Boxted Airfield on January 11, 1944, Lt. Col. James H. Howard, commanding officer of the 356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, flew this heroic mission for which he was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor in combat. It was the only citation awarded to a fighter pilot in the European Theater of Operations.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Oschersleben, Germany, on 11 January 1944. On that day Col. Howard was the leader of a group of P-51 aircraft providing support for a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in enemy territory. As Col. Howard's group met the bombers in the target area the bomber force was attacked by numerous enemy fighters. Col. Howard, with his group, and at once engaged the enemy and himself destroyed a German ME 110. As a result of this attack Col. Howard lost contact with his group, and at once returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then saw that the bombers were being heavily attacked by enemy airplanes and that no other friendly fighters were at hand. While Col. Howard could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack single-handed a formation of more than 30 German airplanes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed home determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed 3 enemy airplanes and probably destroyed and damaged others. Toward the end of this engagement 3 of his guns went out of action and his fuel supply was becoming dangerously low. Despite these handicaps and the almost insuperable odds against him, Col. Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. His skill, courage, and intrepidity on this occasion set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.
Boxted Airfield Museum
The Boxted Airfield Museum is located on the south-east side of Langham Lane in Langham, Essex, England. For information contact the
Boxted Airfield Museum.
Visit their website: www.boxted-airfield.com/home