Robert J. Pinkowski

Picture of 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 Field, Arizona.

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.

Since 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 hour".

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.

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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