Robert J. Pinkowski
ROBERT J. PINKOWSKI, born
June 30,1919, South Bend, Indiana, graduated St. Hedwige High School, then served apprenticeship in the Printing Trades. October 16th, 1941 he enlisted in the U.S. ARMY Infantry, trained in basic training at
Camp Walters, Texas, after completing basic
training, he joined the 105th Infantry, 27th
Division at Fort Ord, California.
He left for
the Pacific with the Advance Detail February
10,1942, landed at Pearl Harbor, Stationed
at Schofield Barracks, volunteered for Ranger Training, after 10 weeks of this training he was called back to his unit and informed he
was accepted in Class 44-C as an Aviation
Cadet, graduating and commissioned at Luke
His first assignment was with
the 57th Fighter Group, 66th Fighter
Squadron, later transferred to 65th Fighter
Squadron. Participating in "Operation
Strangle" with the 57th till the German
capitulation. He flew 68 Missions Dive
Bombing, Strafing, in close support, and
destroying bridges and supply routes in the
Brenner Pass. He was awarded the Air Medal
with 2 Clusters.
Returned to Civilian life November 28,
1945, resumed his life in the printing trades,
then became supervisor of Production Control in the Bendix Corp. Aviation Division. Concentrating on Fuel Metering for the
Computer Bodies and afterburners, for the
F-1ll. Spent 8 years as the office manager
for the South Bend Water Works.
1974, he has been a representative for the
American Family Life Assurance Co. of
Columbus, Ga., and for the last 3 years has
served as Regional Manager for this company. He married Rita Janowski in 1943, and has three children, Mary Grace, Charles and
Stephen, along with 7 Grandchildren.
Aerospace Defense Command writes an
eulogy for the fighter Pilot.- Say what you
will about him; arrogant, cocky, boisterous
and a fun loving fool to boot - but he has
earned his place in the sun
Across the span of 50 years he has given
this country some of its proudest moments
and most cherished military traditions.
But fame is short lived and little the world
remembers. Almost forgotten are the 1,400
fighter pilots who stood alone against the
might of Hitlers Germany during the dark
summer of 1940, and, in the words of Sir
Winston Churchill, gave England "its finest
Gone from the hardstands of Duxford are
the 51's with their checkerboard noses that
terrorized the finest fighter squadrons the
Luftwaffe had. Dimly remembered, the 4th
Fighter Group that gave Americans some of
their proud moments in the skies over Korea.
How fresh in recall are the Air Commandoes
who valiantly struck the VC with their
aging Skyraiders in the rain - and blood-soaked valley called Shau?
And how long will be remembered the "Thuds" over Route
Packed Six and flak filled skies above Hanoi?
So here's a nickel on the grass to you, my
friend, for your spirit, enthusiasm, sacrifice,
and courage - but most of all your friendship.
Yours is a dying breed and when you are gone the world will be a lesser place.
Thanks to the unknown author, from a Fighter Pilot.
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.