Fighter Aces - German visitors - 1984

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by drgondog, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Some time ago I aske the 'cape buffalo' (aka Dan) if he wanted to see some pics of German (and US) Aces from the Aces reunion in 1984 - I took these shots at the Fighter Aces Museum.

    I finally got off my ass and sorted through them

    1st - Doolittle, Landers and Leon Gray, 2nd Goehrke, Rall, Still trying to remember, Galland and Krupinski; 3rd me, Olds in background, Gen John Flynn;

    4th Rall, Goehrke and Krupinski in front of 109; 5th Sublett, Unk -same as #2 above, Parr and London (first 8th AF ace)

    I have a few more.

    On the above - Flynn was a very close friend of my father, took his place in Daedelus Society and was senior bird Col in Hanoi Hilton - was there when Jane Fonda did her little tour. .. both he and dad were involved in USAAF greatest peacetime disaster in Japan in 1949..
     

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  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Last couple - with perhaps some interesting side bars.

    Ray and Jan Toliver with Hans Scharf (Master LW Interrogator) and Jim Goodson. It was interesting to listen to conversations between Gabreski, Lenfest, Brown, Goodson and Scharf - all of which were 'acquainted' after becoming POW and guests of LW.

    Chuck and Lorie Lenfest - Lenfest was dad's Ops Officer in 354FS and leading the 354th on 3 October when the 355th's top ace Henry Brown was hit by flak and bellied in. Lenfest was flying my father's 51 and landed close by to pick Brown up (near Nordlingen) and got stuck in mud. Al White, future B-70 test pilot at NA, landed close by. He was going to get out and let the two aces (lenfest and brown) fly out just like Deacon priest had rescured my father six weeks earlier.

    Neither Brown or Lenfest saw him and White took off.

    We were with Doolittle when the conversation got to this subject and he just started laughing. He said "That's why I didn't approve MOH for Priest earlier" and was amused that he had not heard that Al White was on the ground also..at 90+ he was as sharp as a razor.
     

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  3. Marshall_Stack

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    Was was the disaster in 1949?
     
  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Wow very cool. Thanks for sharing the photos with us. You are very fortunate to have been able to meet all of them.
     
  5. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the guys looked good then and of course the ranks have so thinned out now sadly............ thanks for the pics Bill !
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    it was late 48 or 49. My father was commanding the 35FBW out of Johnson AFB (Erv Ethell, Jeff's father was a sqdrn CO) flying a war game strike at Tachikawa or Itazuki (can't remember the specific details.

    Future 4 star, 2lt John Flynn was assigned to fly wing to an un named Capatin who had tried to ground himself (he told his CO he was afraid to fly anymore) but refused based on only a short time before rotation home. They were the 'hot flight' on alert.

    The 35th attacked, caught everyone by suprise, and the two 51's with Flynn scrambled, climbed for altitude and dove on the second squadron of the 35th as they were about to make second or third pass.

    The Captain lost control and collided with one of the Mustangs, both ships exploded, the debris hit the flight line dead center and destroyed (I think) one C-124, several Mustangs and several brand new P-80s.

    5th AF CG General Ted Timberlake fired the base commander, my father, and (according to Flynn) a lowly 2nd LT. If my father's 'godfather' had not been General Pat Timberlake, older brother and out ranked Ted, my father's career would have been over. As it was he lost the 35th and was in the doghouse until Korean War started and he made Full Colonel shortly afterwards..

    This was USAF that had zero tolerance for accidents and CO took the hit independent of responsibility. Kinda stupid but there it was.

    At the end of the day he did not get to lead the Mustang unit with such high losses to flak, which lost his successor shortly after war started.
     
  7. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Eric for the life me I can't remember the German in the middle of the rogue's gallery.

    This dinner 'group' (along with Tolliver, Lenfest, Goodson and Whisner) that had a pretty philosopical discussion about the struggle of the Luftwaffe Fighter Arm just before and during the Mustang build up in which the discussion of 'massive USAAF fighter numbers was dissected for Jan-May and June to end of war. I was particularly impressed with Rall and Galland.

    Mostly I listened and had a chance to get with Galland and Rall one on one later.

    This AFA meeting at Phoenix was the second meeting with Galland for me, and this meeting in which I was able to really discuss the 8th AF FC build up, his desire to turn the LW loose and just go after the escorts before they got too strong.. (mid to late 1943). He had permitted me to reprint the letter in my book, but it was all about the fundamental question - How did the arrival of the P-51 change the game in 1944.

    His most emphatic point was the impossible challenge of dealing with increasing numbers of high performance (he didn't say the Mustang was superior in every way, just very high performance - particularly at bomber altitudes) aircraft Free Hunting all over Germany - while forced to instruct his pilots "bombers first".

    I'm still looking for the two dinner table pics - the one above plus the one with Flynn, Olds, Thorsness, Kasler, Bob White reflecting on airwar Vietnam and Hanoi Hilton.
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Nice shots Bill. Nice to see Tolliver there - got to meet him once, really nice guy. What was ashamed is no one at this IPMS convention I was at had a freaking clue who he was!
     
  10. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    hard to imagine - especially since so much reference material in Toliver/Constable books - I know I used then for several models I built doing custom decals (ahem, some time ago)

    Ray was a genuinely nice person. He was a big help to me when I first started doing the historical bg behind my book. Somewhere I have a pic of Triple zero - his last Hun before retirement.
     
  11. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Read the book by Hans Scharf. Very smart guy. Smooth. As somebody once said about him, "You got the feeling you he could get information out of you just talking about the weather". Famous interrogator.
     
  12. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Man I missed this thread... Thanks so much for the pics Bill, brings back a few memories....
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Dan - I wish I could remember the ace on the left. Stigler sticks in my mind but my memory doesn't pull up a certainty - and I didn't write 'em down. He looks a lot like Gabreski but isn't and my recollection was that Stigler was leaner and taller.

    I was able to sit and talk with Galland and Rall, along with Olds and Tolliver for maybe two hours at dinner - one of the highlights was Galland and Rall quizzing Robin about Vietnam... and watching all three in violent agreement about the necessity of guns in modern air to air.

    Olds was the guy that I believe was the single most important voice behind the F4-E.

    Next to my father he is the guy I looked up to most of all when I was growing up.

    Regards,

    Bill
     
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