Paul E. Gardiner
PAUL E. GARDINER, born 24 May
1918 in Cherokee, Oklahoma. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, he
joined the Army Air Forces in April 1941
and attended the Aviation Cadet flying
schools at Tulare, Taft and Stockton, California, receiving a Reserve commission with Class 41-I four days after the Pearl Harbor
After assignments as Combat Pilot,
54th Fighter Group, Paine Field, Washington; Combat Pilot, 20th Fighter Group,
Charlotte Field, North Carolina; and Flight
Commander, 337th R.T.U., Tampa and Sarasota, Florida, where he flew the first model of
the P-47 towing aerial gunnery targets in
1943, Paul became the first Group Operations Officer of the 405th Fighter Bomber
Group which trained at Walterboro, South
As a member of the advance party of the
405th, Paul arrived at Christchurch, England in January 1944. While waiting for the
deployment of the Group, he flew 5 combat
missions with the 56th from an East Anglia
base. At Christchurch, Paul took one of the
first four P-47D.16's (uncamouflaged) and
alternated with the Commander and Deputy
Commander as Group Leader on high altitude B-17 escort missions when the 405th
became operational in March 1944.
weeks prior to D-Day, he was designated
Commander of the 509th Squadron and was
promoted to Major. His squadron was first off
the ground from Christchurch on D-Day.
Twelve days later, he was shot down attacking
a heavily defended ammo dump near St. Lo,
France, on his 49th mission. With his plane
on fire and the rudder controls shot out, he
managed to get from the deck to 400 feet
where the stick cables burned through. In
attempting to bailout, his shoulder harness
became entangled and he opened the back-pack chute while hanging half-out the cockpit; he landed on his rump, with both feet
tangled in the shrouds of the chute and
survived the lowest bailout reported at that
time, with only broken ribs, dislocated shoulder and a leg wound.
After forty days as an evadee in the area
around Cerisy la Salle, France, Paul was
"uncovered" by advancing U.S. tank elements following the St. Lo breakthrough.
second E.T.O. tour was with the XIX TAC as
assistant A-3, where he helped plan Third
Army support operations and flew experimental test flights of AIBR (automatic integrated bomb release) and TSP (target strike
photo) equipment mounted in P-47's.
In 1947, after receiving a regular Air
Force commission, Major Gardiner was
assigned as Fighter Training Officer, Air
Force Section, U.S. Military Mission for Aid
to Turkey. There, with the help of one tech
Sergeant and twelve TAF pilots who spoke
English, he checked out three TAF P-47
groups in six months with only one major
After his assignment as Tactical
Unit Training Officer (P-47, B-26 and C-47), Paul took his last flight in a P-47 in December 1949.
Colonel Gardiner had his last fling with
combat air support operations, flying A-l's
with the South Vietnamese Air Force during
1965-66. When he was Air Force Advisory
Team Commander at Bien Hoa and Director
of Operations, Air Force Section, MACV, he
had 41 combat missions in South Vietnam.
His military decorations include 2 Legions of
Merit; Distinguished Flying Cross; 8 Air
Medals; Purple Heart; Presidential Unit Citation; Joint Service, Army and Air Force
Commendation Medals; Bronze Star; VNAF
Flying Cross and Air Medal; Turkish AF and
Chinese AF Commendation Medals.
P-47 transition followed at Pocatello, Idaho and Greenville, Texas after which he was assigned to the 56th Fighter Group in England. When the news of his arrival reached Berlin, Hitler retired to his bunker with his cyanide capsule and revolver. Eva found the news equally depressing.
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.
Edward B. Addison
The 507th Fighter Group, equipped with P-47N's, won the Presidential Unit Citation for destroying 32 Japanese aircraft in the air on one mission to Seoul, Korea. The average flying time for raids to Korea and Japan would be 7 to 9 hours flying time. In a total of 31 months, the 507th not only provided top cover for B-29's, but also
dive-bombed, napalm-bombed and flew low-level on strafing missions.
Levon B. Agha-Zarian
It is rumored that he, took his primary training on a flying rug. He flew Spits, briefly, in England, but as the, war moved to the East, he was sent to India as a Sgt. Pilot and first saw action from Ceylon, flying the Curtiss P.36, the Brewster Buffalo, and the Hurricane. At this point he might have opted for the rug! This was at the time of the fall of Singapore and the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse.
George N. Ahles
Posted to A-20 light bomber squadron Barksdale Field, Louisiana. . Group moved to Hunter Air Base Savannah, Georgia. Qualified for Pilot training November 1940. Entered Aviation Cadets January 1942. Presented wings November 1942 class of 42-J. Married Mary Louise while in Advanced Pilot Training at Craig AFB, Selma, Alabama, September 1942.
Roy J. Aldritt
Shortly after the group moved to France he ran into some unseen flak and was forced to make a nylon descent behind the lines; some evasion and a lot of luck had him back with his unit
in 24 hours.
Eugene J. Amaral
After graduation from Stonington High School he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in December 1942 and was called to active duty in March, 1943. He received his wings and commission at Spence Field, Georgia as a member of the Class of 43-C.
Talmadge L. Ambrose
Flew 84 missions thru VE Day, was downed by 22mm ground fire over Siefried Line. He destroyed 11 enemy aircraft, 9 known confirmed in air and on
ground, including 4 FW 190-D's in one afternoon over Hanover, Germany, April 8, 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross,
Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 17 man, Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Pacific Theatre and European Theatre Meda1s with 5 Battle
Stars and Unit Citation Medal.
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.
It was not always flak,two ME-109's beat the hell out of me one day. The central controller called me and said "Basher-Red Leader do you have contact Bandits," I replied, "I sure do, I'll bring them over the field in 3 minutes, they're chasing me home." Got all the usual medals including two Belgium and two French but one I'm most proud of is the Silver Star -it is the greatest.