Ace of the Day: Maj. Clarence E. Anderson, Jr., USAAF (Ret)

by Jan Baker 20 Feb 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0

CLARENCE E. ANDERSON, JR.

Major, USAAF (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 16 ¾

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Bud Anderson

California native Clarence Emil “Bud” Anderson Jr., was born January 13, 1922, in Oakland. He attended Sacramento Junior College before joining the U.S. Army Air Forces on January 19, 1942. Following graduation from the Aviation Cadet program on September 29, 1942, Lieutenant Anderson was assigned to the 363rd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group. The Group was sent to England in November 1943 and equipped with the new P-51.

Anderson, by then a captain, participated in the 357th’s first combat on February 20, 1943. He scored his first victory 30 miles northwest of Hanover, on March 8. He shot down a FW-190 30 miles southeast of Orleans, France on April 30 and became an ace on May 8, downing another FW-190 near Soltau. Following a brief rest tour in the States, Captain Anderson returned to combat with the 363rd, downing two FW-190s on November 27. He scored his last a week later, credited with two more FW-190s on December 5.

“Bud” Anderson remained in the Air Force following the war and commanded an F-86 squadron during the Korean War. During the Vietnam War he commanded the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. He retired from the Air Force on March 1, 1972, and subsequently went to work for McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft Corporation as manager of their flight test facility at Edwards AFB, California.

Decorations: Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with 4 OLCs, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 15 OLCs and the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Palm

 

Source: American Fighter Aces Album ©1996

Ace of the Day: Lt. William H. Allen, USAAF (Ret)

by Jan Baker 12 Feb 2015 in Ace of the Day Comments: 0 tags: 5, Allen, California, Germany, Lieutenant, P-38, P-39, P-51, USAAF, WWII

WILLIAM H. ALLEN

First Lieutenant, USAAF (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 5

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Allen William in P-38 Cockpit

William Harry Allen, born on April 22, 1924, in Los Angeles, California, graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School in June 1941 and entered the Army Air Forces in July 1942. Graduating from flight training in November 1943, he flew P-39s and P-38s in the United States before being assigned to fly P-38s with the 343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group at Wormingford, England in April 1944.

The 55th transitioned into the P-51 in July and it was in the Mustang that Allen had his “big day”. On September 5, 1944, returning from an escort mission to Stuttgart, Germany, he spotted several aircraft taking off from the airport at Goppingen. His flight of four P-51s went down, and when the fight was over Allen was credited with five He-111s destroyed, making him an “ace-in-a-day”.

Allen remained in the Air Force following the war. He remained an active pilot throughout his career and flew a total of 39 different aircraft including single, twin and four engine fixed wing aircraft and helicopters prior to his retirement as a major on January 31, 1963. Following his retirement, Allen worked as an aircraft accident investigator for the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. Retiring for the second time, he continued doing aviation safety consulting in his home state of California.

Decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster and the Air Medal with 4 OLCs

 

Source: American Fighter Aces Album ©1996

Ace of the Day: Col. James E. Swett, USMCR (Ret)

by Jan Baker 11 Feb 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0

JAMES ELMS SWETT

Colonel, USMCR (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 15 1/2, 4 Probables, & 1/4 Damaged

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“I don’t consider myself to be a hero or invincible. But I do know that the Lord was in my cockpit each time I took off, and when I was shot down.” 

- JAMES E SWETT, Colonel, USMC (Ret),

Medal of Honor Recipient and American Fighter Ace

Colonel (USMC, Ret) James Elms Swett, (June 15, 1920 – January 18, 2009) was a United States Marine Corps fighter pilot and American Fighter Ace during World War II. He was awarded the United States Medal of Honor, for actions while a division flight leader in VMF-221 over Guadalcanal on April 7, 1943. Subsequently he downed a total of 15.5 enemy aircraft during the war, earning eight Distinguished Flying Crosses and four Air Medals.

Born on June 15, 1920 in Seattle, Washington, Colonel Swett graduated from San Mateo High School, San Mateo, California, and enrolled at the College of San Mateo in 1939. He earned his private pilot’s license prior to enlisting in the Naval Reserves and attending Navy Flight Training in September 1941.

Service in World War II – Colonel Swett completed flight training in early 1942, graduating in the top ten per cent of his class. Given the option of a commission in the Marine Corps or the Navy, he chose the Marine Corps, and was commissioned a second lieutenant at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, on April 1, 1942. After advanced flight training at Quantico, Virginia and Lake Michigan, and carrier qualification onboard the USS Wolverine, he received his wings at San Diego, California. In December 1942, he shipped out to the Southwest Pacific, and when he arrived at Guadalcanal he was assigned to VMF-221, which was part of Marine Air Group 12.
Medal of Honor action – On April 7, 1943, on his first combat mission, 22 year-old Swett became an American Fighter Ace – and acted with such “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” that he would be awarded the Medal of Honor.
His first mission was as a division leader on a combat air patrol over the Russell Islands early on the morning of April 7 in expectation of a large Japanese air attack. Landing to refuel, the four-plane division of F4F Wildcats he was leading was scrambled after other aircraft reported 150 planes approaching Ironbottom Sound. Swett’s Division intercepted a large formation of Japanese Aichi D3A dive bombers (Allied code name: “Val”) attacking Tulagi harbor.
When the fight became a general melee, Swett pursued three Vals diving on the harbor. After downing two, and while evading fire from the rear gunner of the third Val, the left wing of his F4F was holed by U.S. antiaircraft fire directed at the Japanese. Despite this, he shot down the third Val and turned toward a second formation of six Vals leaving the area.

Swett repeatedly attacked the line of dive bombers, downing each in turn with short bursts. He brought down four and was attacking a fifth when his ammunition was depleted and he had his cockpit shot up by return fire. Wounded, he decided to ditch his damaged fighter off the coast of Florida Island, after it became clear that his oil cooler had been hit and he would not make it back to base. After a few seconds his engine seized, and despite initially being trapped in his cockpit underwater, Swett extricated himself and was rescued in Tulagi harbor. This feat made the 22-year-old Marine aviator an American Fighter Ace on his first combat mission.

Decorations: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 Gold Stars, Purple Heart with one Gold Star, Air Medal with 21 Gold Stars, Presidential Unit Citations and a Navy Unit Citation

Source: American Fighter Aces Album ©1996