John E. Parker
JOHN E. PARKER, born January
19,1925 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Enlisted as
Aviation Cadet May, 1943. Graduated at
Craig Field, Selma, Ala., Class 44-I. After
training in P-40's transitioned in P-47 Razorbacks at Andrews AFB, Washington, DC.
Ferried P-47's to Shaw Field, Sumter, SC for
combat tactical training.
Flew new P-47D
models at Shaw and P-47N's during gunnery
at Millville, NJ. While flying gunnery at
Millville, and then again later at Luke Field,
Arizona, Parker was constantly at the head of
his class for outstanding marksmanship. He
completed gunnery at end of European war.
Ferried P-47's to Selfridge Field, Michigan
Transferred to Dover, Delaware
flying P-47's till release from active duty.
Flew T-6, AT-11, C-47 and B-29 during five
years of Air Force Reserve at MacDill Field,
Parker was recalled to service in 1951 and
joined the Virginia Air National Guard on
duty with their P-47's at Turner Field, Albany, Ga. The entire unit transferred to Godman AFB, Ft. Knox, Ky. Flew P-47's as
enemy forces during "Operation Longhorn"
out of San Angelo, Texas.
Bent Jug on takeoff
by ground looping off end of runway due to
insufficient power. Previous close calls
included dead stick landing after engine failure onto Andrews AFB from 3000' experiencing a turning stall and split-ess, landing
successfully. Later, after a gunnery mission
off Atlantic City, NJ, commenced "rat racing" and during vertical barrel rolls allowed
speed build-up to where all controls froze.
With full power and gentle application of
elevator trim starting at 15,000', became
level at 3,000' and chandelled to 10,000'
with shaken pilot.
Parker completed his second tour of duty
after 37 ground support missions in Korea
while flying P-51 's and wishing for a P-47 .
He was a guest of honor, along with five of
his 44-I classmates, at Craig Field during
graduation exercises for class of 77-I.
discharged from the Air Reserve with the
rank of Captain.
He married Judith Lynn Osborn in April
1980. They live in St. Petersburg, Fla. where
he is Composing Manager for The Times
Publishing Co., with 34 years service. He has
two children, John and Jean. He is still active
in flying, owning his own plane for the past
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.
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.