By Michael C McCarthy
FROM the writer: Pearl Harbor galvanized the USA to transform peacetime creation ability to warfare degrees, accentuate recruiting, and extend each aspect of its army education process. these people who desired to fly came upon on Monday, eight December 1941, tricky written attempt could fulfill the 2 years of school 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 checks. the method was once severe, not easy, and time eating. in basic terms forty-one survivors of numerous hundred unique candidates within the Boston zone grew to become aviation cadets on 18 March 1942. 5 days later, we pronounced to Santa Ana military Air Base, California, for preflight training—the first of 4 levels en path to pilot, navigator, or bombardier wings. Santa Ana was once a brand new base with out roads or structures. Tents have been used for each function. The wettest wet season in years switched over the bottom right into a muddy quagmire. Amazingly, this system stayed on agenda regardless of nearly very unlikely residing and dealing stipulations. i discovered a impressive can-do angle to be attribute of military group of workers in each step of the educational approach. Our type opened a brand new fundamental flight tuition 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 path finishing touch criteria regardless of seen handicaps. On four January 1943, classification 43-A graduated from Luke box on agenda with greater than four hundred new pilots. different complicated flying bases produced comparable numbers to supply a gradual stream of younger american citizens to help theater requisites for wrestle aircrews. Operational P-40 education in Sarasota, Florida, all started weeks later. The time table supplied the required forty hours for every people in 8 weeks. by means of the top of March, we stated 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 people 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 used to be the 1st instance of an indomitable can-do selection to accomplish the project. That angle turned the defining attribute of management philosophy within the 57th Fighter staff. these chosen for positions of larger accountability needed to exhibit management capability—the skill to imagine stressed and the decision to get the task performed. The final chapters specialize in highlights of the extra memorable missions that came about in the course of years of sour combating among implacable enemies—one who by no means gave flooring willingly, and person who by no means hand over looking for a greater method to get the activity performed. For the main half, the occasions are exact bills with due allowance for fallible stories of contributors who've survived a few 60 years seeing that those occasions demanded and acquired entire focus from all who have been a part of the 57th Fighter staff. At a contemporary collecting of previous fighter pilots, everybody agreed with the series of the missions yet every one folks had a unique 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
The airplane was stable on rollout with no tendency to stray from centerline despite the narrow landing gear. Within a few days, Lieutenant Fudge had us checked out. We were ready for the main thrust of the program—to acquire the knowledge and skills to use the P-40 effectively as a weapon system. Before gunnery (air or ground), we had to learn the full spectrum of formation flying. In fact, formation became a way of life for us. We began as wingmen—always on a leader’s wing from takeoff to landing until that skill became second nature.
He had liberated two pristine BMW motorcycles, both of which needed his talents. He managed to get them running before dawn one morning on alert. Things were quiet, no sign of enemy activity. We decided to race around the perimeter road with those two big bikes and were almost back to the airplanes when the scramble siren went off. In the rush to the airplane I got my front and rear wheels caught in two different ruts which flipped me to one side landing hard on my right shoulder. We reached the airplanes at the same time, got them started, and took off with me on Bill’s wing.
Our daily missions were undergoing some change. The Luftwaffe squadrons were no longer visible on every mission. They were pulling back to airfields in Sicily or Italy closer to their source of supplies, places where they could sustain combat operations during the inevitable Sicilian invasion. Our first exposure to dive-bombing and strafing took place against German antiaircraft gun emplacements on the small island of Pantelleria, perhaps 30 miles off Cape Bon on the direct route to Sicily. The 88-mm guns were dangerous at altitudes where the P-40 was comfortable.