Edward T. Pawlak

Picture of Edward Pawlak EDWARD T. PAWLAK, born in Chicago, Illinois, April 2, 1921. Entered military service April 7, 1942. Pre-Flight, Santa Ana, Calif. Primary- Visalia, Calif. Basic-Merced, Calif. Graduated and com- missioned Luke Field, Arizona, June 22, 1943, Class of 43F.

First assignment Hamilton Field, Calif., West Coast Defense Command flying P-39's. Joined the 382nd Fighter Squadron 363 Group, when it formed in Santa Rosa, Calif., August 1943.

Went to England as part of the 9th Air Force assigned to 8th Air Force. Checked out in P-51 's, flying 54 missions out of England and France. Initially bomber escort and later fighter sweeps, dive bombing and strafing.

In Sept. 1944 the 363rd was converted to Photo Recce., its pilots being transferred to other units. He was transferred to the 405th Fighter Group 510th Fighter Squadron flying P-47's and flew twenty missions more bombing and strafing before returning to the U.S. in January 1945.

Next assignment Training Command at Aloe Field, Victoria, Texas; later transferred to Ferrying Command, Long Beach, Calif. July 1945- In Sept. 1946 sent to Wheeler Field, Hawaii, and then to Guam flying P-47N's.

Survived a mid-air collision with another P-51 and also a dunking in the English Channel. Returned to the U.S. in Jan. 1947 and released from active duty as a Major. Remained in active reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel until retirement.

Decorations include Distinguished Flying Cross with Cluster, Air Medal with 11 Clusters and Unit Citation with Cluster.

; Married Shirley Firlinger Sept. 10, 1949, and has two married daughters, Patti Carter and Kathy Ridge, and two granddaughters. Was a professional hand engraver for thirty years. Now living in Prescott, Arizona, he is the foreman of a plastics company.

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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