William E. Whalen

Whalen, William E (Gooney, Gooney Bird)
1st Lieutenant
Born: April, 1922 Hamilton, New York

WWII FIGHTER ACE!

Bill Whalen was commissioned flowing completion of Flight School in November, 1943. Following FTU at Goxhill, Whalen was assigned to 334th FS/4th FG in late July, 1944.

He scored his first victory with the 4th FG on August 18, 1944 - the worst day of air to air combat for the 4th which lost 9 Mustangs when caught strafing by approximately 25 Me 109’s near Beauvais.

Following Lt.Colonel Clay Kinnard’s assumption of command of the 4th FG in September several 4th FG pilots were ‘swapped’by Kinnard with the 355th FG to introduce different methods and practices. Bill Whalen was one of them. After a month with the 355th FG Whalen volunteered for the newly formed 2SF operating 355th FG Mustangs out of Steeple Morden.

Whalen received a Silver Star for his part in joining two flights of 2SF ships with the 355th to deflect 150+ JG301 fighters attacking two wings of B-24’s near Hannover. In the ensuing fight Whalen scored 3 Fw 190’s and the 355th scored 26 for the loss of three (two to mid air collision over North Sea on way home)

Whalen scored number 5 and 6 on February 9, 1945 to become the only Scout Force ace of the war. He also destroyed two on the ground at Harsleben Airfield on February 22, 1945 before finishing combat operations in March.

Final score was 6 destroyed plus one probable in the air, 2 destroyed on the ground Awards: SS, DFC, AM (10)
Aircraft assigned: 4th FG P-51B 43-6899 QP-O, 355th/2SF P-51D 44-14300 WR-A, P-51D 44-15xxx WR-A

Written by Bill Marshall,
author "Angels, Bulldogs and Dragons - History of the 355FG in WWII"

Contributed by Bill Marshall, October, 2006. Unverified.

The text is copyright Bill Marshall 2006. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy or reproduce this biography without the express written consent of Bill Marshall.

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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