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New here and I have a story for you.

Article about: I have a sort of neat update to my original story. Last weekend I received an e-mail from a gentleman by the name of Lewis T. Easterling from North Carolina. He told me that he was in the sa

  1. #21

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    I have a sort of neat update to my original story. Last weekend I received an e-mail from a gentleman by the name of Lewis T. Easterling from North Carolina. He told me that he was in the same squadron as my great uncle in 1944. He told me that he never knew my great uncle, but that the squadron had many losses that year. My great uncle was shot down and killed in July, 1944 and Lewis T. Easterling was shot down in December of the same year, but survived.

    He flew his 68th sortie on December 17 near Mannheim, Germany, attacking railway marshaling yards containing supplies destined for the "Bulge" at Bastogne. While strafing, an explosion engulfed his plane inflicting extensive damage. He headed his flaming plane toward home receiving heavy ground fire. When the propeller stopped turning he attempted to bailout, but became pinned to the side of the fuselage. Breaking free, he collided with the tail finally managing to open his chute at approx. 800 ft.

    He continued to receive automatic rifle and 20 mm fire until landing. Multiple injuries were sustained, including two broken legs and a gun shot wound. He was in immediate danger from the civilians but was rescued by S.S. Troops who transported him to a small village where a demonstration and mock execution took place.

    Most of his time as a POW was spent in a room with 15 or 20 other wounded prisoners, none of whom spoke English. He returned to the U.S. in June, 1945 and received medical treatment until his discharge from Walter Reed Hospital in November 1947. He was awarded the Purple Heart, six Air Medals, the E.T.O. ribbon with three Battle Stars.

    He e-mailed me the story of what happened to him during his last mission, his time in the POW camp that was eventually liberated and everything in between. He also e-mailed me a list of all of the pilots from the 365th fighter squadron who were killed during the war, with my great uncle Jay listed among them.

    He may not have known my great uncle, but hearing from one of my great uncles fellow squadron members was pretty neat.

  2. #22
    ?

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    Interesting story.

    I assume this is the Lewis T. Easterling of the 358 Fighter Group, 365 Fighter Squadron who has his narrative recorded as the Lewis Easterling Collection (AFC/2001/001/237), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Born 1924 and ín real estate after WWII.

    Lewis T. Easterling fought in WWII as did his cousin who paid the ultimate price at Salerno. Here is what Lewis Easterling wrote at behindthebadge. net under the heading of "In Loving Memory of Those Who Served"

    "Archie Easterling
    By 1st. Lt. Lewis T. Easterling USAF (ret), Charlotte, NC
    Archie was a crew member on an LST engaged in his 5th. beach invasion. This one was at Serlino, Italy. He was manning a mortor in support of the landing when a shell hit his position, and he was killed instantly. He was my cousin and a good friend."

    About the 365th Fighter Group:

    Early missions were flown in support of Eighth Air Force B-17 and B-24 bomber operations and on one of these on March 2, the 365th had its first encounter with enemy fighters in the Bastogne area resulting in the loss of one Thunderbolt and claims of six of the enemy shot down. Oherstleutant Egon Mayer. one of the most successful Luftwaffe aces flying in the West with 102 victories, fell in this battle

    The 365th was one of the most successful groups of the Ninth Air Force when it came to air combat, and a total of 29 enemy aircraft were credited as shot down during the four months the group operated from Beaulieu. On June 25, the 365th had one or its best days when eight enemy fighter-bombers were destroyed. On July 2, Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Coffey, Jr., the Air Executive, became the Ninth Air Force's third Thunderbolt ace. As with other P-47 groups, losses were modest until ground attack became a regular task in June. All told, 24 P-47s were 'missing in action' during their stay at Beaulieu.

    After the end of hostilities, the 365th Fighter Group took part in the disarmament program until June, then returned to the United States in September 1945, being inactivated at Camp Myles Standish, near Taunton, Massachusetts on September 22, 1945.

    I guess you would have posted them, had you any pics of your uncle and his plane?


    Insignia of the 365 Fighter Group.

  3. #23
    ?

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    Info site/pics about the 365th Fighter Group:
    9TH Air Force 365th Fighter Group, 386th Fighter Squadron, 387th Fighter Squadron, 388th Fighter Squadron

    365th FG pics

    Dinner by the roadside



    365th FG plane. The P-47 also called "The Jug."



    Taking off

  4. #24

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    My great uncle, First Lieutenant Jay V. Thomson and First Lieutenant Lewis T. Easterling were members of the 365th Fighter Squadron, 358th Fighter Group. The pictures and links you provided seem to be of the 365th Fighter Group, and not of the 365th Fighter Squadron.

    The P-47's of the 365th Fighter Squadron were known as the "Orange Tails". If anyone has any information, pictures, links, etc on the 365th Fighter Squadron, 358th Fighter Group, I would love to get them.

    I know very little about First Lieutenant Jay V. Thomson, but he is family and I am a big WWII buff. I am also extremely thankful and forever greatful to those who fought and won WWII. Even though I was not alive back then, I feel as though I will be forever in their debt.

    If any of you guys who are reading this are WWII veterans, I thank you for what you did for the world so long ago. You truly are America's greatest generation.

  5. #25

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    I just received another e-mail from a man who I think is from France. He says he met my family back in 2000 so he may have a connection with my great uncle Jay. I am going to continue to exchange e-mails with him in hopes of finding out more about this man and what he may know about my great uncle Jay. Below is a copy of the e-mail he sent me. He looks as though he could be a great source of information and hopefully he will become a good friend of mine.

    Copy of e-mail:

    Dear joel,


    I replied to your post on the site " Army air Forces.com" , remained unanswered until now. I also see that you have done the same on the site " P 47 Thunderbolt Pilots Assn.
    I can answer your question about the unit, and the German pilots who were involved at the air battle that pitted the flight was part of your great-uncle Jay Thomson. Here is the information that I have in my possession.
    By early afternoon, the Fw 190 of I. / JG 26, which probably operate with Me 109 of I. / JG 27 intercepted between Evreux and Dreux a flight of Thunderbolt. In less than 10 minutes, 7 of them will be hit by the firing of German fighter pilots, 5 victories being claimed by those of JG 26. Major Borris who takes that day training gets its first success on the front of invasion by breaking down at 14h36, south of d'Evreux, a first P-47, its 38 th personal victory. Lt. Kennethmüller, then Oblt. Hartig suffer the same fate in other 2 P-47 in 2 minutes, Lt.Günther, blow on blow, the thunderbolt 2 remaining before the pilots of I. / JG 27 in turn do!
    One FW 190 was apparently hit ; Uffz. Brühan of 1. Staffel, who was wounded in this action after his "12" White went crashing almost on Tillières Avre.

    July 14, 1944. ( Claims. German sources )

    14.36 Major BORRIS 1./ JG 26 P-47 AC1 (Dreux)
    14.36 Lt. KENNETMÜLLER 1./ JG 26 P-47 AC (Dreux)
    14.37 Oblt. HARTIGS 1./ JG 26 P-47 AC (Dreux)
    14.38 Lt. GÜNTHER J. 1./ JG 26 P-47 AC (Dreux)
    14.40 Lt. GÜNTHER J. 1./ JG 26 P-47 AC (Dreux)
    14.40 Lt. WÜNSCH 1./ JG 27 P-47 AC 4 (Dreux)
    14.45 Flg SCHIEMERT 1./JG 27 P-47 . Evreux

    July 14, 1944 ( USAAF Losses )

    John WHEELER 358th FG, 366th FS . KIA at Saint Sulpice/ Risle 14.45
    Jay THOMSON 358th FG, 365th FS. KIA at Saint-Denis du Béhélan 15.00
    William THURSTON 358th FG, 365th FS. EVD near Breteuil/ Iton 15.00
    John WHEELER 358th FG, 366th FS. KIA at St. Sulpice/Risle. 14.45
    Augustus HAMILTON Jr 358th FG, 366th FS. KIA at Bérou la Mulotière . 14.45


    July 14, 1944 ( German Losses )

    ME 109 G-6 Werk N° 164957 White 5 Uffz. Willi HAUN (wounded) 9./JG 26 near Breteuil sur Iton
    FW 190 A-7 Werk N° 431175 White 12 Uffz. Emil BRÜHAN (wounded) 1./JG 26 ( near Tillières sur Avre ) ; probably shot down by A. HAMILTON.

    Here is a photo of one of the German pilots who were involved in this July 14 fight.

    Lt. KENNTHMÜLLER
    I will send you 2 more in a next mail.


    I have been very proud to meet your family in September 2000, and to honor your grand-uncle " Herky ".
    I hope these informations will be usefull for you.
    Please, Keep writing .
    Best regards
    Jean-luc
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Lt. KENNTHMÜLLER - involved in July 14, 1944 fighter confrontation.jpg 
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  6. #26

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    Just an update on the research I have been conducting on my great uncle Jay for anyone who may be interested. I have been in continued contact with Jean-Luc, vice president of the "Forced Landing Association" at Lucé, near Chartres France. It is the "Forced Landing Association" that found the site where my great uncles P-47 crashed after a confrontation with I Gruppen, Jagdgeschwader 26 on 14 July 1944. The site was discovered in 1999. He has recently told me that he has a large collection of newspaper articles, photographs, records, reports, as well as actual parts of the P-47 42-26350 which I have recently learned was named "Herky's Blind Date". I guess my great uncle's nick name was "Herky". Jean-Luc is going to send me everything he has on my great uncle to include what was found at the wreck site in 1999 with a metal detector. I will post photo's as soon as I'm able to. 1Lt. Jay V. Thomson's photo is posted below.


    Pilot killed and buried in the French cemetery of Conches on 14 July 1944.
    Down in aerial combat over Breteuil sur Iton.
    Found on the Pilot:
    1 appointmend card - 1 certificate (instrument Filght test )
    1 chemical warfare pocket. 1 receipt for miscellaneous collection.
    1 identification tag: Jay V THOMSON . 0-674346 T 42-43 AD
    Ira A THOMSON
    Rt 2 Anacortes Wash
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #27

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    Joel109

    A very interesting yet sad story.

    I have been to the cemetary at Coleville-sur-mer a number of times, along with many other sites in the locality. The cemetary is very sobering and is, quite rightly, imaculately kept by the ground staff.

    If you ever decide to go to Normandy please give me a shout. I would be pleased to either meet you over there (if I am free) or give you some direction on where to go and what to look at. There is much to see in the area.

    And on a personal note to you, keep safe ! These are dangerous times for you guys in the forces.

    Steve T

  8. #28

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    Quote by Steve T View Post
    Joel109

    A very interesting yet sad story.

    I have been to the cemetary at Coleville-sur-mer a number of times, along with many other sites in the locality. The cemetary is very sobering and is, quite rightly, imaculately kept by the ground staff.

    If you ever decide to go to Normandy please give me a shout. I would be pleased to either meet you over there (if I am free) or give you some direction on where to go and what to look at. There is much to see in the area.

    And on a personal note to you, keep safe ! These are dangerous times for you guys in the forces.

    Steve T
    Thank you, I appreciate that.

  9. #29

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    Hi Joel, this is great news! I am really pleased for you.

    Cheers, Ade.

  10. #30

    Default Re: New here and I have a story for you.

    Below is a statement that was made by Capt. Jack Coulter who was flying with my great uncle on the day he died.


    365TH FIGHTER SQUADRON
    APO 141 U.S. Army


    STATEMENT

    I was leading Sherwood White flight on 14 July when we were bounced by about fifty (50) enemy aircraft composed of FW 190's and ME 109's. We all jettisoned bombs and tanks, breaking left into them. I did not see my number four man after the break. A little later I saw one FW 190 and an ME 109 on number three mans tail and the 190 was getting strikes on left wing and rear part of fuselage. I broke into them and they broke off. The plane was not on fire and seemed to be under control when it passed out of my vision. I did not see it after that and both the pilots, LT. Thomson White three and Lt. Thurston White four mentioned above, failed to return.


    JACK W. COULTER,
    Capt., Air Corps.

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