James C. Coe Jr

Picture of James Coe JAMES C. COE, JR., born March 28, 1921 at Mt. Vernon, Ohio. In 1939 he began his military career in the Army with Hdqs. & Hdqs. Btry. 80th Fld. Arty, 6th Inf. Div. He was assigned to aviation cadet training in claass 42-K. He was graduated and commissioned at Luke AFB, Arizona. His first assignment took him to Mather AFB, Calif., and to Luke AFB, where he served as an advanced single instructor. In 1943 Jim was assigned to bomber crew training in B-17's with the 19th Bomb Grp. at Pyote, Texas, followed by an assignment to B-24's with the 302nd Bomb Grp. at Clovis, N.M.; 449th Bomb GrP- at Brunning, Neb., and the 34CCTS at Blythe, Calif. More transfers and training followed before being sent to Harding Field, La. for P-47 training.

Arriving in the ETO, Vitamin, a nickname acquired on assignment to the 23rd Ftr. Sqdn. 36th Ftr. Grp., was sent to site A-16 at Saint Marie du Mont, France shortly after the Allied invasion at Normandy. Missions flown were in ground support of the spearheading Army units. Key targets were: Tanks, rail facilities, flak units, air fields, in short, "anything that moved." "Vitamin's" aircraft sustained flak damage on eleven of the various missions he flew over Europe. On one occasion he took a hit from the Panzer Lear Division east of the Remagen Bridge-head which caused him to have to belly land,after managing to maneuver his Jug to the west side of the Rhine, in a small field used by spotter aircraft. On Dec. 26, 1944 during the battle of the Bulge, Jim fought in air to air combat and was credited with the destruction of a Me-109.

Jim was released from active duty in Jan. 1946. He worked at several jobs: John Deere, Meredith Publishing Co., and his own aircraft repair service before being recalled to active duty in 1948 to Lackland AFB, Texas. Reassignment was to Great Falls, Mont. for C-54 transition and further reassignment to Weisbaden, Ger. where he flew supply missions in the Berlin Airlift. His next state side assignment was at Wold-Chamberlain Field in Mpls., Minn. as a volunteer air reserve liaison officer for a tri-state area. At the outbreak of the Korean conflict, Jim reported for duty with the 21st Troop Carrier Sqdn. in the Far East and began flying C-47's. Being the work horse that it was, the C.47, coupled with the 21st TCS provided both the necessary close support for the immediate evacuation of the wounded from forward areas, and the necessary constant replenishment of Ammo, food and supplies.

State side reassignment was with the 1708th Ferrying Group flying: C-47's, C-1 54's, AT-6's, P-51's, T-33's, F-86's, F-100's, F-84's, B-25's, and P-47D and N models. This assignment included a stint at Kelly AFB, Texas and a three year tour in Fuerstenfeldbruck, Ger. and Chateroux, Fr. Jim's last tour of duty before retiring was flying KB50J's with the 429th Air Refueling Sqdn., TAC, at Langley AFB Va. After four years at Langley, Jim retired in June 1962 from the USAF Reserve as a Major with over twenty years' active duty. Major Coe flew 220 combat missions in Europe and Korea. He received over fifty awards and decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 14 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Belgian Fourragere.

Since retirement he has worked for the Federal Government in various capacities and has been nuturing an import business on the side. Jim and his wife Nell, after 38 yrs. on married life, have made their home in Columbus, Ohio for the past four years. They have two grown children, Pamella M. and James C. II.

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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