Edward P. Neyland

Picture of Edward Neyland EDWARD P. NEYLAND, born Beeville, Texas, March 10, 1924, reared in nearby Kenedy. Flying career began 1940, age 16, soloed Piper J-3 Cub. Graduated Kennedy High School 1942, enlisted as Aviation Cadet, graduated Class of 43.G, Mission, Texas. Assigned Tallahassee, Fla., for P-47 training; then to replacement base at Shrewsbury, England; and on to 56th Group, 61st Sqn. - the "Zemke Wolfpack" - Halesworth, England.

His second mission was almost his last when a ME-109 sneaked up behind him and riddled his Thunderbolt with 20mm cannon fire. Nineteen-year-old Lt. Neyland was able to guide his badly crippled ship back to an emergency landing at his English base where he received the Purple Heart and Air Medal.

He completed his 300-hour, 84-mission combat tour, strafing and bombing bridges, truck and tank convoys, airfields, trains, barges and fuel dumps, and escorting heavy bombers over Germany.

He was officially credited with destroying four enemy aircraft and probably destroying two more. He was awarded the DFC twice, the Air Medal eight times, the Purple Heart, and two Presidential Unit Citations.

After completing his combat tour, he instructed in P-47s in England, then returned to the U.S. and flew P-39s and P-63s at Yuma, and was instructing in P-47s at Abilene, Texas, on VJ Day.

Leaving active duty in 1945, he entered Texas University in Austin, majoring in business administration, staying active in the Air Force Reserve flying P-51s. Later, he joined a family business as an International Harvestor farm machinery dealer for seven years.

That business was sold, and he built and operated a motel until he returned to flying, joining American Airlines as a co-pilot in 1956. Based first in Cleveland and later in Dallas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, he has flown out of New York since 1960 and has piloted CV-240s, DC-6s, DC-7s, L-188s, BAC-111s, B-707s, B-727, and currently commands DC-10s between New York and California.

He lives in Connecticut with his wife Mary Jo, whom he married in 1948. They have three grown children - Bob, Jane, and Janet.

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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