James R. Chapman

Picture of James Chapman JAMES R. CHAPMAN, born March 24, 1925 in Atlanta, Georgia. Graduated from Atlanta Tech High School in January of 1943 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps on February 1, 1943.

After graduating from Turner Field in August, 1944 as a twin engine pilot, went on to B-17 transition at Sebring, Florida and Replacement Training at Gulfport Field Mississippi.

Chapman was assigned to the 351st Bomb Group, 508th Bomb Squadron where he flew 10 missions over Germany and was escorted several times by P47's which held the ME262's at bay.

Chapman's B-17 was struck by enemy anti- aircraft several times and on one occasion had to drop out of formation and return alone, but all crew members finished their missions without injury.

1st Lt. Chapman was released from active duty in November of 1945 and joined the Georgia Air National Guard Unit in January, 1947 and checked out in P-47's where he flew with the 54th Fighter Wing, Georgia Air National Guard until June, 1949, at which time he graduated as a Mechanical Engineer at Georgia Tech and went to work for Reynolds Aluminum Company.

He later worked with the Milprint Division of Phillip Morris Tobacco Company and the Mead Packaging Division at the Mead Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia. While stationed with 20th Fighter Group at Kingscliff (England), flew a 55 second fighter 360 degree approach in a B-17 used for towing sleeve targets and collected a tidy sum in wagers from P-51 jockeys.

During career with Georgia Air National Guard, had two dead stick landings in the P-47. One due to supercharger run-away and explosion; the other due to rupture of carburetor with resultant fire.

Chapman currently resides on Lookout Mountain, near Ft. Payne, Alabama, with his wife Betty, his bride of July, 1945. The Chapmans have three children and four grandchildren.

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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