Charles T. Gagel

Picture of Charles Gagel CHARLES T. GAGEL, born December 18, 1922 in Louisville, Kentucky. Attended the University of Louisville before and after WW II, with a major in Mechanical Engineering.

He enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in October 1942 and after being called to duty, graduated in the class of 44-E at Aloe Field, Victoria, Texas. After training in the P-47 at Harding Field, Baton Rouge, La., he reported for overseas duty in the Southwest Pacific Theatre.

Typically routine for the Air Corps, after all that training in the P-47 , his first combat mission was flown in the P-51 out of New Guinea. He was assigned to the 360th Service Group, 5th Air Force and then assigned to the 58th Fighter Group, 311th Fighter Squadron, 5th Air Force where he remained in the P-47 until returning to the States.

He flew 67 combat missions from New Guinea, through the Philippines and on to Okinawa from which point the 58th hit the southern coast of Japan doing escort and ground attack missions. After the second Atomic bomb was dropped at Nagasaki, and the Japanese surrender, he was sent home in January 1946. Other than the usual medals, he received the Air Medal with one cluster.

He was separated from service as a First Lieutenant. He married Marian Weir in 1942 and has two children, Charles and Marsha (Shryock), both married. Each of these marriages provided him with two grandchildren for a total of four, Gina, Scott, Zachary and Patrick.

He has spent his business career in mechanical design and manufacturing management of industrial refuse handling equipment and at present is Vice President of TRI-PAK SYSTEMS COMPANY in Louisville, Kentucky where he has been for the past fifteen years.

He is a Certified Manufacturing Engineer, member of the Order of the Moose- Masonic Order, Toastmasters International, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, a Kentucky Colonel and of course the P-47 Fighter Pilots Association.

His hobbies include Golf, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wild Turkey Whiskey Decanter Collecting, and Gun Collecting.

List of all p51 Pilots:
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Pilot Name Biography Summary
Asa A. Adair He returned to the States in August of 1944 after participating in the invasion "D" Day. He flew P-63's, P-51's, F-80's, T-33's, F-84's, T-38's, P-47's in numerous assignments during the following twenty years in in, Japan, U.S.A. and Europe before retiring after twenty-six years of Active Duty.
John C. Anderson After P-47 transition he was assigned to the 406th Fighter Group, 512th Fighter Squadron. (E.T .0.) He flew 56 missions through January, 1945 destroying supply routes, bridges, and railroads; he also flew close support missions with the ground forces, with attacks on tanks, artillery and enemy positions.
W.B. 'Tex' Badger Eight and Ninth Air Force in WWII. B-l7's, P-51's and P-47's. Fifth Air Force in Korea, F80's and F86's. WWII and Korea, Flew 156 missions. Tactical units served in with the USAAF and USAF were: 305th BG , 368th Fighter Group, 4th Fighter Group, 49th Fighter Group, 12th Fighter Wing, 506th Fighter Wing.
Robert T. (Bob) Bagby He trained in P47's at Cross City and Dale Mabry Fields, Florida and then joined the 341st FS Black Jack Squadron), 348th FG of the 5th AF in Brisbane, Australia in June 1943. Bob flew 78 combat missions in New Guinea (Port Moresby, Finchafen, Sador, Wakde and Biak) primarily as wingman to squadron CO's John Campbell and John Moore. Also privileged to fly wing to Neil Kirby on several occasions.
Frank Baker After brief stops at Stone and Atcham, England he joined the 313th Fighter Squadron of the 50th Fighter Group in France. He flew 90 missions through V.E. Day. Most of the missions were close support attacks on various ground targets with a few B-26 escort missions thrown in. All of the missions took place in eastern France and southern Germany. He was awarded the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters.
John M. Balason To relieve the boredom, Balason went down on the deck and blew up a locomotive he had observed at altitude. A few seconds after making his strafing pass he received a hit in his left wing tank and a fire started immediately in the cockpit. The paralyzing effect of the intense heat made climbing out of the cockpit impossible.
Albert W. Barlow, Jr. He flew 69 escort and ground support missions. Destroyed one E/A (ME-I09). Was shot down on Sept. 8, 1944, and evaded enemy ground forces for 8 days. Was picked up by an American Recon. Unit behind the German lines. Was hospitalized until Feb. 1948, when he was medically retired with the rank of Capt. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and Purple Heart.
William T. Beckler In July, 1944 Beckler exchanged his P-40 for a P-47N Thunderbolt. Missions in the Jug covered Northern Italy and Southern France. These included escorting medium bombers. The Bombers, based in Southern Italy, would be escorted to France by Thunderbolts based on Corsica. Shortly before target the Jugs would pull ahead of the bombers and bomb the enemy gun positions. Beckler's activities while participation in three major campaigns earned him the DFC, two Air Medals and two Presidential citations.
Herbert R. Benson After training in P-47 Thunderbolts at bases in North Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, he was assigned to the European Theatre of operations and joined the 48th Fighter Group 493rd Fighter Squadron at St. Trond, Belgium. After flying 44 combat missions, he was awarded the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf clusters.
Marvin C. Bigelow Training in the Southeast Training Command with the class of 44C, he graduated and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant single engine pilot at Marianna, Florida with the class of 44D. After checking out in the P-40 at Marianna, he transitioned in the P-47 in the Northeast Defense Command and after gunnery at Dover, Delaware was shipped on the Queen Mary to England.
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