Millard U. Hodges

Picture of Millard Hodges MILLARD U. "MIL" HODGES, born January 1, 1920 near Sallisaw, Oklahoma and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma at the age of 10. He graduated from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Prior to Pearl Harbor, Mil enlisted in the Army Air Corps and entered Aviation Cadet training in 1942, graduating and commissioned in class 43B at Foster Field, Victoria, Texas. His first assignment was P-40 and P-47 flying with the 327th Fighter Group, and subsequent assignment to the newly- formed 358th Fighter Group, 367th Fighter Squadron (P-47), Richmond Army Air Base, Virginia, as a charter member.

During pre-deployment tactical training, Mil acquired considerable P-47 time, but met with an unfortunate accident which put him in the hospital for five months. During this time the 358th Fighter Group, 355th Fighter Squadron (Pioneer Mustang Group) then in France. He flew with the 354th (P-51, P-47) until the end of WWII.

After WWII, with a Regular Commission, Mil remained in the Air Force and retired in 1964 as a Lt. Col. and command Pilot. During this time he remained in jet fighter operations and command, completing a tour in the Korean Conflict with the 49th Tactical Fighter Group, 8th Squadron (F-80). His jet fighter experience includes F-80, F-84,F-86 and F-100 aircraft, mostly in the Tactical Air Command. After graduating from Command and Staff College in 1955, Mil was assigned the JUSMAG Philippines as jet advisor to initially transition the Philippine Air Force into T-33 and F-86F aircraft.

His efforts earned him the title of "Father of the Philippine JET Air Force". During his duty with tactical units, he made eleven ocean crossings (air refueling) in jet fighter aircraft, and at retirement was Commander of the 429th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 474th Group (F-100), Cannon AFB, Clovis, New Mexico.

Mil's fighter time is 5,000 hours, 1,000 in P-47's. He flew 162 combat missions, and his awards include the AF Commendation Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross (3 OLC), Air Medal (13 OLC) and many service and foreign medals, awards, commendations and decorations. Among his foreign awards are Belgian Wings, Republic of China Wings, and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

Mil's post-military retirement years were spent with American Airlines in the Flight Training Department.

In 1943 Mil married Bessie Bea Bryant of Vinita, Oklahoma. They have four children; Joyce, Jane, Patricia and Richard.

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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