Robert R. Deen

Picture of Robert Deen ROBERT R. DEEN, Lt. Col. USAF- Ret. Born - Lead, South Dakota, Aug. 21. Graduated - Lead High School Class of 39, One year - Black Hills Teacher's College. Volunteered for Aviation Cadets 7 Dec.41.

Finally sworn into Enlisted Reserve Corps 21 July 42 but still not called into training until Feb. 43 with class 43-K. Classification and Pre-Flight at San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center, Primary at Hat Box Field, Basic at Coffeyville, Advanced at Moore Field - graduating 5 Dec. 43. P-47 advanced tactical training at Dale Mabry Field, Tallahassee, Fla.

From there to 81st Ftr Gp, 93rd Sqdn, near Cheng Tu, China using Jugs to provide high altitude air defense for B-29 staging bases. One of the first units to work with AC&W radar pioneering concepts later employed by Air Defense Command.

Due to lack of fuel 93rd was detached to Gushkara, India and pilots from other two squadrons rotated through to maintain proficiency. During 20 months in CBI managed to acquire a grand total of two combat missions; both of which are still the lot of the interceptor pilot - early morning, not yet light, soup on the deck and up to just above assigned angels and "Bogey" identified as friendly just after wheels are in the well.

Only then we had no instrument training, a bare bones cockpit and no nav aids. Don't tell me Jug pilots knew no fear! After end of hostilities rotated to Perrin Field, Texas and separated into the Resrve program in Oct. 46. During time out joined a partnership in founding Byrd's Jewelers in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Stayed active in Reserve flying T-6s and T-l1s. Recalled in Dec. 51 to train as AC&W Intercept Director. Tour in Europe then to jet up-grading at Craig and All-Weather Interceptor training in F-94Cs at Moody.

Then, quite naturally to 460th FIS at Portland International to fly F-89s and Deuces. Best FIS AF ever knew! From 460th to 25th Air Division in Opns Div. and on to 51 st Ftr Wg on Okinawa in 0 and T, to DaNang in Base Ops. After which established Office of Air Force Representative to FAA Pacific Region and on to same position with FAA Western Region from which retired as Lt. Col. Reserve Retired.

Awards besides theater and unit - Air Force Commendation and Meritorious Service. Presently President - Byrd's Jewelers Inc.

Military Aircraft flown: PT-19, PT-23, BT-13, AT-6, P-40, P-47 all but N, P-51, T-33, F-94C, F-89, F-I02, C-47, C-54, L-5, L-20, H-19, etc.

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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