Donald E. Frye

Picture of Donald FryeDONALD E. FRYE, born February 21,1920 in Fort Scott, Kansas. He attended public schools in Paola and Fort Scott, Kansas and KSTC in Pittsburg. He started flying in the CPTP sponsored by the US Navy in 1940 at Fort Scott JU-Co and KSTC.

He was in Class 42-C, receiving his wings and commission at Stockton Field, California 16 March, 1942. At Esler Field, Louisiana he was assigned to the 12th Obs Sqdn flying P-39s, P-40s, P-51s, DB-7s, B-25s, P-47s and various other liaison type aircraft as well as P-43s in preparation for combat.

He went to England in September 1942 and flew Spitfires in the 8th Air Force and on detached service with 453 Sqdn RAAF and 66 Sqdn RAF. He was called back to the 9th Air Force to help activate the 354th Fighter Gp at Boxted serving as assistant Group Ops.

Then on to Assistant A-3 job at 1OOth Fighter Wing Hq. He then went to 382nd Fighter Sqdn flying P-51 s until it was disbanded, at which time he was assigned to the 412th Fighter Sqdn, 373rd Fighter GP flying P-47s.

After a few months flying P-47s he was shipped home to a Convalescent Hospital in Florida. After release from the hospital he attended the AF Instrument Instructors School at Lubbock, Texas and instructed at Perrin Field and Randolph Field, Texas and then on to Saitozaki, Japan as a Radar Officer.

All told he spent eleven years overseas during his 22 years in the Service which included 6 tours in England, France, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Greece, Azores, Spain and Morocco.

He was awarded the DFC, Air Medal W/4 0LC, AF Commendation, AF Good Conduct, Army Good Conduct W/4 Knots, Pre Pearl Harbor, Am Theater, EAME W/4 Battle stars, WW II Victory, Occupation, and AM Defense Service Medal.

He married Mabel C. Smith on 17 March, 1942 and they have 4 children; Gary, Donald Jr., James and Doris.

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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