Thomas K. McCaffrey

Picture of Thomas K. McCaffrey THOMAS K. MCCAFFREY born April 14, 1924 Cordelia California moving to the Napa Valley, CA, where as a youth he spent his years helping his family run a small diary operation and going to school. After graduating from high school in 1942 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in late 1942, after completing basic training at Fresno, Calif. was assigned to C.T.D. at Missoula, Mont. then on to Santa Anna, Calif. for pre-flight training, on to primary at Santa Maria, Calif., basic at Lemoore, Calif. then graduating at Luke Field, Arizona, in class 44 D.

Went on to Baton Rouge, La. for indoctrination in the P-47, from there to Bruning, Neb. for R.T.U. returning to Baton Rouge for overseas replacement in Aug. 1944. After some more training in England, was assigned to the 412th Ftr. Sqdn. 373rd Grp. in France where he flew 57 missions doing close support, dive bombing, strafing trains, airfields, convoys, and troop movements. Credited with 2 E/A in air. Also had the honor of flying with the 1st American Group to fly from German soil.

After some occupation duty in southern Germany, returned to U.S. in Aug. 1945 for leave to regroup to go on the Pacific Theater, but V.J. Day came along at the right time, so was released from active duty in Sept. 1945. After returning home to Calif. was assigned to Hamilton Field, to fly with the Air Force Reserve, later transferring to the Calif. A.N.G. flying P-51's for several years.

He has been in the heavy construction business since late 1945 doing road building, and home site work. He married Maude Thompson in July 1944 2 weeks before going overseas and has 1 son Keith and daughter-in-law Linny and 3 lovely grandchildren Kelton 8 yrs., Max and Molley, twins 5 yrs.

He spends any spare time on his hobby of collecting a restoring old tractors, trucks and engines. Is hoping to retire soon so as to spend more time with his family and pursue his hobby further and travel some.

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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