Gordon Marion Graham

Graham, Gordon Marion (Gordy, Ace)
Lieutenant General
Born: February 16, 1918 - Ouray, Colorado


Following graduation from University of California - Berkley, with BS Petroleum Engineering in 1940, he joined Army Reserves and commissioned a Second Lieutenant when he completed pilot training at Craig Field, Alabama in August, 1942. He served in Training Command and was promoted to Major before shipping out to ETO in late, July 1944. Graham’s logbook had more than 2700 hours of single engine time.

He was assigned to 354FS/355th FG in September, 1944 and became CO after Lenfest down on October 3rd and Marshall promoted to 355FG Deputy Group Commander on October 23, 1944.

Major Gordy (Ace) Graham was a skilled and aggressive Squadron Commander and was able to shoot down his first 5 aircraft over a span of 20 days starting with an Fw 190 on Christmas Day, 1944 and ending on January 14, 1945 with a pair of Fw 190’s near Meppen. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in February and finished his aerial scoring on April 8 shooting down two Me 109’s near Oberphaffenhofen A/D.

Graham became the groups’ 17th air ace and one of the fastest to score five in the air, following only Bert Marshall in shortest time from first combat operation required to shoot down five.

Following VE Day Graham stayed in the Air Force, received an MS from University of Pittsburg and promoted to Colonel January, 1951, then Brigadier General in 1962 and Major General in 1964. Following a tour in Viet Nam with 5AF HQ 1966-1967 he was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1968, commanding Fifth Air Force then Sixth Allied Tactical Air Force in Turkey before retiring in 1973.

Final score was 7 destroyed, one probable and 1 damaged in the air, plus 9.5 destroyed and 4 damaged on the ground. He flew 72 missions in WWII, 146 in SE Asia flying F-4’s.

Awards: SS, DFC (2), AM (22)
Aircraft assigned: P-51D-10 44-14275 WR-F “Down for Double”, P-51D P-51D-15 44-15255 WR-F “Down for Double”

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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