Thursday, October 24, 2013

Described for decades as the world’s foremost railroad artist, Howard Fogg’s fascination for railroading began early, and he sketched his first train when only four years old.

After graduating from Dartmouth College with honors in 1938 with a degree in English Literature, Howard attended the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts.

“Better Make Up Your Mind F. D. Or There’ll Be A Wreck”
February 24, 1940 cartoon by Howard Fogg
Courtesy of Richard Fogg

Appreciative of the many ironies in life and politics he hoped to pursue editorial cartooning, although he also painted, which is where his talent ultimately led him.

The Alaska Railroad was finished in 1923 and owned by the US government until 1985 when it was purchased by the state of Alaska. Mount McKinley looms in the background. 1978 oil painting by Howard Fogg. Image courtesy of Leanin’ Tree, Inc.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Mad Rebel: Lt. John H. Oliphint

Lt. John Houston Oliphint - "The Mad Rebel"
359th Fighter Group, 369th Fighter Squadron

Lt. John H. Oliphint flew with the 359th Fighter Group from April 1943 through June 8, 1944, when he was nearing La Fleche and his P-51 began to lose coolant. He continued to strafe, releasing his bombs point blank into the side of a locomotive. He crash landed, was injured, and needed medical attention, so the Maquis reported his position to the Germans. It was the Gestapo, though, who took him prisoner.

After interrogation and torture, Lt. Oliphint and several others escaped. During his stay with the Resistance, Lt. Oliphint gathered data for British Intelligence. On August 5, 1944, he was picked up by the RAF at a covert airfield and returned to England.

He served in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years, through World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and was awarded Command Pilot wings and 43 medals including the Silver Star, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 8 Air Medals, 2 Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, Commendation Medal, Prisoner of War Medal, and numerous theater and foreign medals.

John Houston Oliphint passed away on December 19, 2011. He was a true Texan and a great fighter pilot.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book review by Rene Burtner

Fogg in the Cockpit is based on a diary by Howard Fogg. Howard, a fighter pilot in WWII with the 359th Fighter Group began his diary shortly before the Group sailed to England in October 1943. His intention at the time was to provide notes if at some later date he decided to write a book about his war years. The book did not materialize during his lifetime but has now become a reality thanks to his son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Janet Fogg. Howard’s college degree in English Literature and his artistic perception are displayed throughout the book.

As an ex fighter pilot I read the book with great anticipation and was rewarded with a gem. The time, places, events, and routines in the diary were those shared by all fighter pilots and they rekindle lost memories as well as enhance memories fading through time. First impression of England – the beauty of the countryside – quaintness of the villages – fortitude of the British people – the weather – sinus – blackouts – bicycles – air raids – buzz bombs – V2s – card games – billiards – briefings – missions – periods of dullness – perils of strafing – sports – hobbies – parties – leaves in London, Scotland – Flak Home – Me109s – Fw190s – Me262s – Me163s are there to be relived along with the lack of glory in war and the little time for mourning.

Richard and Janet Fogg have provided well chosen information connecting the individual pilot’s activities and those of the Group to the overall war effort. References to military terms are explained and timely news items are mentioned regarding the progress of the war around the world. Howard’s lifelong love affair with trains and his art work combine for a very successful career as a railroad artist and we enjoy some examples of his beautiful watercolors and oils in the appendix.

~ Rene Burtner, 369th Fighter Squadron Leader, 359th Fighter Group

On August 2, 1944, Lt. Rene L. Burtner Jr. was one of five replacement pilots assigned to the 369th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group. On his fifth mission he was shot down while strafing the St. Dizier Airfield after a bomber escort mission. He was able to evade and escape capture, and returned to Wretham on September 1, 1944. He continued flying until April 17, 1945. Photo courtesy of Anthony C. Chardella: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book trailers!

Fogg in the Cockpit
by Richard and Janet Fogg

by Janet Fogg

Trail Winds
by Janet Fogg


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Damn this lousy English weather

Excerpt from Fogg in the Cockpit:

"Wednesday, July 12, 1944: Wretham
Up at 0815. Briefing at 0930. Took off at 1110. Duplicate of yesterday’s show in every detail but flight time. I led Olson, White, and Keesey. My #2 and #4 planes got lost in very rough air of overcast. Picked up Kosc for #2. Homeyer flew #4 later. Encountered heavy flak near Ruhr so everyone split up as usual. Major Shaw led. I became Blue Flight.

We only had eight planes out of 16 for escort duty. Never saw the ground; went from here to Munich and back on instruments.

Couldn’t release my left tank and it pissed me off highly. Then it fell off on my landing approach.

Sure was tired. Up for 6 hours and 10 minutes. A long ride. Plane ran fine, loads of gas.

Damn this lousy English weather."

March 29, 1944 photo of belly tanks.
Photo archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

1940 Political Cartoon by Howard Fogg

“Better Make Up Your Mind F. D. Or There’ll Be A Wreck”
February 24, 1940 cartoon by Howard Fogg

Thursday, July 11, 2013

ALCO and Mixed Train Daily

March 1946: With the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in the midst of converting from steam to diesel locomotive production, Duncan Fraser, President of ALCO, makes the decision that launches Howard’s artistic career. Hired as ALCO’s new company artist, Howard begins painting their locomotives in the livery of prospective customers, and examples of his work for them can be viewed at

September 1946: At a three-day gala hosted by ALCO at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, Howard’s paintings are on display, and Lucius Beebe attends. A journalist with the New York Herald-Tribune, Beebe is considering leaving New York to pursue freelance writing and publication of railroad books. Lucius seeks out Howard and a long-term relationship is born, with Beebe buying a number of paintings over the years.

1947: Mixed Train Daily, co-authored by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg, is the first of many to use a Fogg painting on the cover. The following photo from Howard's archives shows L-R: Clegg, Fogg, and Beebe (seated), in front of the display of six paintings that Howard completed for their book.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

One mission. Nuts!

Excerpt from Fogg in the Cockpit, the wartime diary of Captain Howard Fogg:

Wednesday, June 14, 1944: Wretham

Good day, heavy cumulus.

One mission. Nuts!! Took off at 0615. Blue Flight led by me, with McNeil, Andy, Hammy, and Murphy. Top squadron. Flew an area escort to Brussels, Namur airfields. We encountered heavy flak at Namur but no trouble and no enemy aircraft. Flew at 26,000 to 27,000 feet in nice squadron formation. Really clear over the Channel. Back at 1000.

Foul headache. Tired. Lunch at 1115 then went to bed and slept until 1700.

I was told at supper of my transfer to the 368th and Taylor’s transfer back to 369th. I’m glad yet sorry. Good to rejoin the old outfit, but the 370th flies better and has better engineering, etc. Sorry to leave Colonel Murphy, a wonderful pilot and leader.

Taxied my ship over to the 368th, moved flying equipment after supper. Major Brown, ’40, Panama for three years, 1,200 flight hours, is the new 368th operations officer. He seems like a good guy. So I’m “home” again and it’s okay.

Moose Nose. Captain Howard Fogg’s P-51D-5 Mustang CV-D 44-13762. 
Courtesy of Ira J. “John” Bisher: 
Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Left Hand Valley Courier: June 2013

Thank you, Liz Emmett-Mattox and the Left Hand Valley Courier!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"The tide has turned."

“You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

“But this is the year 1944. Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940 and 1941.

“The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeat in open battle man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground.

“Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.

“The tide has turned.

“The free men of the world are marching together to victory. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle.

“We will accept nothing less than full victory.

“Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

P-51B/C Mustang with D-Day stripes at East Wretham Airfield. Photo courtesy of Elsie Palicka, wife of Ed Palicka, 370th Fighter Squadron Photographer: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

An Air Cadet

“One of the greatest hazards in flying is fog in the cockpit.”

As told to Richard Fogg by his father Howard Fogg, this phrase was uttered by a meteorology instructor to a class of student pilots in 1942. A gale of laughter, led by Howard, followed this pronouncement.

Air Cadet Howard Fogg at Parks Air College in East St. Louis, June 1942.
Lettering on Fuselage reads:
Photo courtesy of Peter Fogg

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Let us Never Forget

During its 17 months of operation there were 13,455 sorties flown by the pilots of the 359th Fighter Group. Following are just a few of those pilots.

The 368th Fighter Squadron:
Lt. John C. Allen, Killed in Action
Lt. Carl M. Anderson, Prisoner of War
Lt. David B. Archibald, Prisoner of War
Lt. Merle G. Aunspaugh, Killed in Flying Accident
Lt. Arlen R. Baldridge, Killed in Action
Lt. Louis E. Barnett, Missing in Action
Lt. Merle B. Barth, Missing in Action
Lt. Clifford L. Bartlett, Killed in Action
Lt. Robert V. Beaupre, Killed in Action
Lt. Geroge H. Blackburn, Killed in Action
Capt. Wayne N. Bolefahr, Killed in Action
Lt. Raymond L. Botsford, Killed in Flying Accident
Lt. Ray A. Boyd Jr., Prisoner of War
Lt. Cecil R. Brown, Killed in Action
Maj. Wayne R. Brown, Killed in Flying Accident
Lt. Emer H. Cater, Killed in Action
Lt. Willis J. Cherry, Prisoner of War
Lt. Albert A. Cowie, Prisoner of War
Lt. Richard H. Daniels, Killed in Action
Lt. David P. Dunmire, Missing in Action
Lt. Clifton Enoch Jr., Missing in Action
Capt. Charles E. Ettlesen, Killed in Action
Lt. James J. Ferris III, Killed in Flying Accident
Lt. Roy C. Garrett, Prisoner of War
Lt. James H. Haas, Prisoner of War
Lt. Benjamin M. Hagen III, Prisoner of War
Lt. John W. Herb, Killed in Action
Lt. Lester W. Hovden, Killed in Action
Lt. Clyde M. Hudelson Jr., Killed in Action
Lt. Edward J. Hyland, Killed in Action
F/O John H. Klug Jr., Killed in Flying Accident
Lt. John F. Lauesen, Killed in Action
Lt. Graham Lupton, Prisoner of War
Lt. Douglas A. MacLean, Killed in Action
Lt. Antony D. Maiorano, Prisoner of War
Lt. John S. Marcinkiewicz, Prisoner of War
Lt. James W. McCormack, Killed in Action
Capt. Thomas J. McGeever, Killed in Action
Capt. Charles E. Mosse, Prisoner of War
Lt. Donald L. Murphy, Missing in Action
Lt. Paul E. Olson, Prisoner of War
Lt. James R. Pino, Prisoner of War
Lt. William R. Simmons, Killed in Action
Lt. James B. Smith, Prisoner of War
Lt. Henry L. Thompson, Missing While Training
Lt. Col. Albert R. Tyrrell, Prisoner of War

The 369th Fighter Squadron:
Lt. Lawrence A. Bearden, Killed in Flying Accident
Lt. Robert J. Booth, Prisoner of War
Lt. Richard H. Broach, Prisoner of War
Lt. Charles R. Bruening, Missing in Action
Lt. Lowell W. Brundage, Killed in Action
Lt. Harold R. Burt, Killed in Action
Lt. Clifford E. Carter, Missing in Action, assumed KIA
Lt. Cecil W. Crawford, Missing in Action
Lt. Grover C. Deen, Prisoner of War
Lt. George M. Givan, Killed in Flying Accident
Lt. Maurice N. Haines, Prisoner of War
Lt. LeRoy D. Hess Jr., Prisoner of War
Lt. Kenneth L. Hobson, Prisoner of War
Lt. Frank W. Holliday, Missing in Action, assumed KIA
Maj. James A. Howard, Killed in Action
Lt. John E. Hughes, Missing in Action, assumed KIA
Lt. James F. Hutton, Missing in Action
Lt. Russell H. Jenner, Killed in Action
Lt. Howard A. Linderer, Prisoner of War
Lt. Russell E. Masters, Missing in Action
Capt. Harry L. Matthew, Prisoner of War
Lt. Paul. E. McCluskey, Killed in Action
Lt. Donald S. Melrose, Missing in Action
Lt. Lawrence F. Meyer, Missing in Action
Lt. Myron C. Morrill Jr., Missing in Action
Lt. James R. Parsons Jr., Killed in Flying Accident
Maj. Edwin F. Pezda, Prisoner of War
Capt Robert L. Pherson, Killed in Action
Lt. Homer L. Rodeheaver, Killed in Action
Lt. Stanley E. Sackett, Killed in Action
Lt. Robert B. Sander, Killed in Action
Capt. Karl K. Shearer, Killed in Action
Lt. Edwin L. Sjoblad, Missing in Action
Lt. Charles E. Stubblefield, Missing in Action
Lt. Ferris C. Suttle, Killed in Action
Lt. Edward J. Thorne, Prisoner of War

The 370th Fighter Squadron:
Capt. Benjamin H. Albertson, Prisoner of War
Capt. Carey H. Brown, Killed in Flying Accident
Capt. James E. Buckley, Killed in Action
Lt. Dick D. Connelly, Killed in Action
Lt. Alexander M. Cosmos, Killed in Flying Accident
Lt. Elmer N. Dunlap, Prisoner of War
Lt. Howard E. Grimes, Killed in Action
Lt. Lynn W. Hair, Killed in Action
Lt. Harold D. Hollis, Killed in Action
Lt. Cyril W. Jones Jr., Killed in Action
Lt. John E. Kerns, Missing in Action
Lt. Ralph E. Kibler Jr., Killed in Action
Capt. Washington D. Lyon, Missing in Action
Lt. Edward J. Maslow, Prisoner of War
Lt. Jack E. McCoskey, Prisoner of War
Lt. Garland J. McGregor, Killed in Action
Lt. Wallace C. Murray, Missing in Action
Lt. Albert T. Niccolai, Missing in Action, assumed KIA
F/O James J. O’Shea, Missing in Action
Lt. Malcom C. Paulette, Killed in Action
Lt. Alan C. Porter. Killed in Action
F/O Luther C. Reese, Missing in Action
Lt. Gordon M. Shortness, Missing in Action
Lt. Joseph E. Shupe, Missing in Action
Lt. Robert W. Siltamaki, Prisoner of War
Lt. Stanley F. Stegnerski, Missing in Action
Lt. Howard E. Steussey, Prisoner of War
Lt. Paul E. Sundheim, Prisoner of War
Lt. Earl W. Thomas Jr., Killed in Action
Lt. William N. Tucker Jr., Killed in Action
Lt. Benjamin J. Vos Jr., Missing in Action
Lt. Frank E. Westall Jr., Killed in Action
F/O Walter W. Wiley, Prisoner of War
Lt. Bennie F. White, Missing in Action
Lt. Theophalus A Williams, Killed in Action
Lt. Lawrence A. Ziska, Killed in Flying Accident

Lt. Col. James V. Wilson, Prisoner of War

Thursday, May 16, 2013

359th Fighter Group and Squadron Insignia

The 359th Fighter Group Insignia: The unicorn, symbolic of dauntless courage, in white to indicate purity of purpose: reared in a regal manner in pride of performance, against a background of the red blood of courage, severed by a gold band of honor. The whole crested with three white stars against a background of midnight blue. The star points are consecutively 3, 5, and 9 to portray the Group numerical designation. The inscription "Cum Leone" is prophetic of the Group's baptism of fire. (The Royal Seal of Great Britain bears the unicorn emblazoned on the left and the Lion on the right.) The Group winged its way into combat from its base in Great Britain in companionship with the combined operations of the USAAF and the RAF, against enemy forces over Europe.


The 368th Fighter Squadron Insignia. Over and through a yellow disc, the squadron color designation, the white unicorn holds a red thunderbolt firmly between his teeth. The unicorn, symbolic of dauntless courage, portrays the squadron's speed and evasiveness. Its one horn indicates that the squadron flies single engine planes.


The 369th Fighter Squadron Insignia. Over and through a red disc, the squadron color designation, intersected by a thunderbolt, the white unicorn appears in full pursuit, as per record drawings. The unicorn, symbolic of dauntless courage, portrays the squadron's speed and evasiveness and the position indicates its aggressiveness. Its one horn indicates that the squadron flies single engine planes.


The 370th Fighter Squadron Insignia. Over and through a dark blue disc, the squadron color designation, intersected by a red thunderbolt, the white unicorn appears prepared to attack. The unicorn, symbolic of dauntless courage, portrays the squadron's speed and evasiveness and the position indicates its determination. Its one horn indicates that the squadron flies single engine planes.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lt. Elby J. Beal: Forced Landing on the Normandy Coast

Excerpt from the 368th Fighter Squadron (359th Fighter Group) History for August 1944:

On August 1st (1944) we furnished ramrod support for heavy bombers of the 3rd Air Task Force who were carrying out provisions of the Buick plan #12, which was to drop supplies by parachute to Free French Forces in Southern France. The mission was uneventful from a combat standpoint. Lt. Elby J. Beal was forced to land on a landing strip on the Normandy Coast because of trouble with his airplane. An account of his experience while on the Normandy beach head, written by Lt. Beal, is as follows:

“I was on a mission near the Swiss border. We were escorting B-17s that were dropping supplies to the Maquis. As we were leaving the target area my prop ran away. I was flying at 11,000 at the time. I lost 2,000 feet altitude trying to stall the prop into high pitch. Started on to Sweepstakes running the engine from 3800 to 3500 RPM, and eighteen inches to 23 inches manifold pressure all the way. Crossed the lines at 4,500 feet. Had radio contact and a steer from Sweepstakes by then. The engine was extremely hot and smoking bad. Gas was low too. I was looking for an open field to land in when I saw a landing strip off to the right. I turned over that way and was nearly there when the engine started quitting. Was going to make a belly landing then decided to lower wheels which made me almost undershoot the strip. I landed on one end, and a shot up B-24 landed on the other. I turned off soon as possible. They sent a Jeep out after me and I reported to flying control then to operations. They had no facilities for repairing P-51s at this base as the P-47s, which the organization used that was stationed at this base did not use the same type prop as the P-51. However the engineering officer said he thought he could get a crew and engine from a strip near there. By that time it was late. I had met a Doctor who invited me to spend the night with his unit. They had a nice hospital set up in an apple orchard near there. They gave me a good meal and a cot. About that time German planes started coming over and I spent most of the night in a fox hole. They had been digging them deeper every day. The most danger seemed to come from our ack ack, which seemed to shoot in every direction. The Jerry planes came over real low and dropped bombs several times, some of which hit pretty close. Next morning I reported to the operations tent, and told them that my plane would be repaired and I was going to fly it home. They had made arrangements for me to go to London with the B-24 crew and said I would have to report to 9th Air Force Headquarters. Orders had been cut sending us back. We were sent up in a truck. Asked the driver to wait until I found out if I could go back with him. I finally got permission to go on back, and went outside and found my flying equipment, but the truck had left. I started hitch-hiking back to where the plane was and got there about 3:00 PM. The crew had just started working on the plane. They were a mobile repair unit. They pulled the plane out under a tree and by 3:30 PM the next day had changed the engine and prop governor. I then ground checked the engine and went to flying control to get a clearance and took off. I was treated very nicely while at this base. The crew that changed the engine did a good job in the shortest possible time. They were very efficient.”


Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, from records at HQ USAF Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Air Power History Review

“In October 1943, budding artist and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt pilot, Howard Fogg, went to war. Assigned to the 368th Fighter Squadron of the 359th Fighter Group, Fogg deployed to England in support of Eighth Air Force’s bombing campaign against German-occupied Europe…

“…The group underwent its strongest test immediately before and after the Allied invasion of France in June 1944. During this period, the 359th primarily focused on low-level attacks against lines of communication and airfields. The Mustang’s vulnerability to ground fire was increasingly obvious. Higher headquarters concluded that P-51 equipped units in the future would focus on higher-altitude counterair operations…

“…Fogg’s uncensored insights into the day-to-day routine of a typical fighter pilot offer an informative perspective. To provide some historical context for the layperson, the Foggs briefly interject significant events elsewhere in the world. The historical summaries and morale reports provide a point of view on a grander scale.

“…While Fogg’s accounts will be of interest to students of World War II fighter operations, railroad enthusiasts should be especially pleased. After the war, Fogg emerged as one of the nation’s premier railroad artists...”

~ Lt. Col. Steve Ellis, USAFR (Ret.), Docent, Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington. Air Power History, the Journal of the Air Force Historical Foundation.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Lady and the Pennsy by Margot Fogg

We thought you might be interested to learn more about Howard's wife, Margot Dethier Fogg, and in December 1982, Trains Magazine published this article in which Margot describes how, in 1942, she became the first female Pennsylvania Railroad ticket seller in New York City.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Seaboard Coast Line Diesels

Seaboard Coast Line diesels,
part of the Family Line System of railroads.
Painting by Howard Fogg.
Image from the photo archives of Howard Fogg.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Santa Fe Railroad passenger train in the famous “Warbonnet” livery,
climbing Glorieta Pass near Santa Fe, New Mexico in the late ‘40s.

Painting by Howard Fogg.  Image courtesy of Leanin’ Tree, Inc.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why did we write Fogg in the Cockpit?

Fogg In The Cockpit began, and ended, as a labor of love, but the focus of that love changed as the work unfolded. Howard Fogg's legacy was already firmly established thanks to his success as a railroad artist, but what son or daughter-in-law could resist the opportunity to build on that legacy when presented with a document as fascinating as a wartime diary? The format is compelling: no facts lost or colored by time, the trivial and the significant presented with equal clarity, terms, conditions, and events offered up not through the veil of nostalgia but simply as fact. This, then, was the basis, and the inspiration, for Fogg In The Cockpit.

And then the unexpected. The secondary players, men whose names would never appear on an internet search engine, took on a life of their own. Men who helped win the war and then came home to lead quiet lives. Men who, far too often, did not come home. The book was not just about Captain Fogg anymore, it was about the 359th Fighter Group; its pilots, officers, and support personnel. The supporting cast became stars, and the love of Howard Fogg, with whom we shared a lifetime, became a love of the men of the 359th, men we would never have had the privilege and honor of knowing if not for Fogg In The Cockpit.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Inevitable Winner

Described for decades as the world’s foremost railroad artist, Howard Fogg’s fascination for railroading began early, and he sketched his first train when only four years old.

After graduating from Dartmouth College with honors in 1938 with a degree in English Literature, Howard attended the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts to pursue editorial cartooning, although he also painted, which is where his talent ultimately led him.

Here's an example of one of Howard's 1940 political cartoons.

Image courtesy of Richard and Janet Fogg

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Fine Tribute

Book Review of Fogg in the Cockpit:


This book represents a labor of love for a family whose father (Howard Fogg), a renowned railroad artist, had served during the Second World War as a fighter pilot with the 359th Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), which operated out of Britain between 1943 and 1945.

The heart of the book is made up of diary entries that Fogg had made between October 1943 (the month that the 359th arrived in Britain) and September 1944, when he completed his combat tour and returned to the United States. The historical commentary, which is interspersed throughout this book, provides a wonderful touch, which gives an added perspective on the contributions and sacrifices made by the USAAF in Europe towards the defeat of the Third Reich.

The reader is given entree into the day-to-day existence of a fighter pilot and its sometimes mundane aspects aside from the pressures and hazards of combat flying. The book also has a generous collection of wartime photographs and several examples of Fogg's postwar railroad paintings, which showcase his considerable talent.

For me, "FOGG IN THE COCKPIT" was one of the best purchases I made this year. Any student of the Second World War or aviation enthusiast will love this book.”

~ W. Montgomery (Washington DC – USA)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

History of Ordnance Armament Activities USAAF Station F-133 Aug 43 to Jun 44


APO #637, U.S. ARMY
27 August 1943 to 30 June 1944
1. General:

The following is a presentation of Ordnance and Armament activities on the station. It is not the intention nor is any attempt being made to offer it as a factual or chronological history. Instead, it is presented in more or less outline form so that the technique and procedure as employed at this station may stand out and be clearly understood.
Ordnance clerks at work in the 1833 Ordnance Company. PFC Charles E. May, T/4 Andrew A. Hansen, Cpl. Joe D. Rice. Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, from records at HQ USAF Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

2. Installations:

Perhaps this station is more fortunate than others in the location and accessibility of the installations. While this field is probably as widely dispersed as others, practically all of its Ordnance and Armament installation, particularly Squadron Ordnance and Armament Shops, Bomb Storage Area, 3rd Echelon Automotive Maintenance Shop and Group Armament and Station Ordnance Officers, are conveniently located.

a. Bomb and Ammunition Storage Area:

‎6 Sep 1944 photo of 500 pound bombs on racks at ammunition dump. Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, from records at HQ USAF Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.‎

Located in the southeast corner of the airdrome, it is readily accessible to the 369th and 370th Fighter Squadrons and about 1 mile from the 368th Fighter Squadron Armament Shop. Since the station was originally used by the RAF as a bomber field, the bomb storage area is complete in its fittings. It is equipped with three (3) large camouflage revetments with overhead sliding hoists. In addition, it has six (6) open revetments which can be used to park trailers loaded with bombs or as is required at present, to store 100 and 250 lb. bombs. Recently, a new revetment has been put in use. Originally what appeared to be a storage pit of some sort, it has since been converted into a revetment large enough to park all loaded bomb trailers. Cleared of rubbish and leveled by a “bull dozer”, with a roadway lined with metal landing strips, it makes an ideal auxiliary revetment. Practically all of the small arms ammunition is stored in brick or concrete buildings, the only exception being when such permanent facilities are overtaxed, it is necessary to use storage tents. However, in no event is ammunition stored in tents if the original containers have been opened. Therefore, as ammunition is inspected and linked by personnel of the 1833rd, it is stored in permanent buildings. Fuzes and Primer Detonators are stored in a hut designed for that purpose and while at times appears to be rather small, it is adequate.

b. Squadron Ordnance and Armament Installations:

With the exception of the 369th Fighter Squadron, all the squadrons have a separate building which is used for the storage of ammunition which is authorized each squadron. The 368th Fighter Squadron’s shop is located on the west side of the field and has as its armament shop a large brick building with permanent work benches. It is light and airy and conveniently located in relation to its flights. The 369th Fighter Squadron has a large Nissen Hut which serves as both an Armament Shop and Ammunition storage. It is not as well equipped as the 368th in that it lacks sufficient lighting but it is also centrally located with respect to its own particular squadron. The 370th Fighter Squadron, of necessity, shares its Armament Shop with the Pilot’s Locker Room but since it is used only as a work shop and has a separate building for storing ammunition, it covers its purpose. It is shortly contemplated that the 370th Fighter Squadron will move into a building now under construction and almost complete. At such time it will have a set up similar to the 368th Fighter Squadron.

Robert Hunter, armorer, rank unknown (left), with his older brother Captain John B. Hunter (right). Photo courtesy of Anthony C. Chardella: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

c. Other Ordnance Installations:

The 1833rd Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company has as its 3rd Echelon Automotive Maintenance Shop a large thatched roofed barn which has been converted into a garage. It is well lighted and large enough to accommodate several large vehicles undergoing repairs. It also has several covered sheds which border around a courtyard which are used for such purposes as a paint shop and repair bays for smaller vehicles, particularly during inclement weather. It might be well to add that for the most part commercial power is used to operate the various machines and motors. This in preference to generating their own power so as to conserve existing facilities which may be required more urgently at a later date. The record of the number of deadlined vehicles on the station is comparatively low - lower than the average for Fighter Command. The Supply Section of the 1833rd Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company maintains a warehouse for Ordnance General Supplies and works in close liaison with the Station Ordnance Office since most supply functions must clear through that office. An Armament Shop for 3rd Echelon maintenance of weapons is operated by the Armament Section of the 1833rd and their mission is to service guns beyond the care and maintenance that individual units are insofar as caliber .50 aircraft machine guns are concerned. A new or serviceable gun is issued as replacement for a worn or unserviceable one. The primary function of the Ordnance Company is SERVICE - service at all costs. This is particularly true on this station and every effort is being exerted towards that end.

2. Personnel:
Two per Mustang. Courtesy of Elsie Palicka, wife of Ed Palicka, 370th Fighter Squadron Photographer: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

When the 85th Service Group first arrived at this station on 27 August 1943, it brought with it two Ordnance Officers and five enlisted men, The ordnance Section of the Headquarters Squadron and its included Major Samuel W. Marshall, Jr. as Group Ordnance Officer and 1st Lt. John G. Dales as his assistant. Because of the lack of sufficient ordnance personnel, the task of setting up ordnance activities on the station was doubly difficult. However, with the arrival of first, the 359th Fighter Group and later, the 1833rd Ordnance, this condition was appreciably relieved. At first each of the Fighter Squadrons had an Ordnance and Armament Officer but since the policy of Fighter Command was to have one officer serve in a dual capacity, the following assignments of officer personnel were affected with the Fighter Group:

1st Lt. Louis F. Major, Jr. 359th, Group Ordnance & Armament Officer
1st Lt. Carlyle W. Thomas, Ord/Armament Officer 368th Fighter Sqdn.
1st Lt. Marshall C. Carpenter, Ord/Armament Officer, 369th Fighter Sqdn.
1st Lt. Don E. Caskey, Ord/Armament Officer, 370th Fighter Sqdn.

The original roster of Officers of the 1833rd included:
1st Lt. Eugene S. Jackson, Commanding
1st Lt. James B. Levin, Armament Officer
2nd Lt. Secil D. Dykstra, Automotive Officer
2nd Lt. Thomas H. Collier, Ammunition Officer

No change of Ordnance Officer personnel were effected until 19 January 1944 when 2nd Lt. James E. O’Connel joined the 1833rd to become an overage. On 11 February Lt. Dales was transferred to and assumed command of the 1833rd while Lt. Jackson replaced him as Asst. Station Ordnance Officer. However, with the transfer of Major Marshall on 1 April 1944, Lt. Dales returned as Station Ordnance Officer and Lt. Levin assumed command of the company. At this time 1st Lt. Eli Berlin joined Hqs & Hq Sqdn. and was assigned the duty of Asst. Station ordnance Officer. Lt. Jackson was then carried as an overage in the position he held until 16 July 1944 when he was transferred from the station. In the meantime, Lt. O’Connel was designated as Armament Officer of the company to fill the vacancy created by Lt. Levin assuming command. Lt. Collier was subsequently transferred from the company on 23 May 1944 and was replaced by 2nd Lt. (now 1st Lt) Stanley A. Berman who joined the unit on 14 June 1944.

Promotions Included:
Lt. Dykstra promoted to 1st Lt. on 1 March 1944
Lt. Dales promoted to Captain on 1 June 1944
Lt. Berman promoted to 1st Lt. on 15 June 1944.

As for changes within the Fighter Group, 1st Lt. Thomas was designated as Group Ordnance and Armament Officer replacing Lt. Major. 1st Lt. Francis W. Hankey replaced Lt. Thomas as Ordnance & Armament Officer of the 368th Fighter Squadron. These changes were effective on 17 May 1944.

Recent change to the T/O of the Fighter Squadrons authorized additional personnel and including Chemical Warfare and Photographic personnel calls for 66 Enlisted Men.

Armorers working on P-51: Frank Luddehe (on wing); Sgt. John Bobola (centered behind cockpit); Sam Dailey (back to camera). Courtesy of Charles Doersom: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

3. Operations:

At the outset it was a question of breaking down the barrier that heretofore existed between Ordnance and Armament personnel. As stated before, the policy of Fighter Command required the closest cooperation and collaboration between these two sections and it was found necessary to install the concept of teamwork between the two in order to obtain a maximum of efficiency. As for the Station Ordnance policy, it was merely a question of carrying out the plan originally formulated which required the understanding of problems which the various sections were expected to be confronted with and to giving all assistance and advice possible.

As far as the Fighter Group was concerned, it was necessary for the various squadrons to learn each others problems, to understand them and to work to a common end and to mutual advantage of each other. It must be borne in mind that this was perhaps the first opportunity that the Group had to function as an individual unit. While the squadrons were still in training in the States they had operated more or less independently or at least were physically separated so as to make close cooperation and understanding impracticable, if not impossible. By 13 December 1943 when the Group went on an operational status, most of the knots had been unraveled.
May 3, 1944 photo of two bomb-carrying 368th Fighter Squadron P-47s: CV-Y and CV-X. Courtesy of Elsie Palicka, wife of Ed Palicka, 370th Fighter Squadron Photographer: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

One of the first major problems which confronted the Group as a whole was the question of carrying bombs. It presented a particularly acute problem to all Ordnance personnel since very little experience had been gained in this respect. The question of bomb handling equipment and bomb shackles had to be overcome. The first was solved by the fact that sufficient bomb handling equipment, such as Bomb Service Trucks and Trailers were obtained by Station Ordnance for the use of the squadrons. Since the bomb lift trucks were not originally designed to raise bombs to the required height, it was found necessary to improve cradles. This was accomplished by each of the squadrons and they proved to be a satisfactory method. It should be stated here, that after the first mission calling for the use of bombs, it was discovered that the closest cooperation was necessary between Operations, Intelligence, Group and Station Ordnance Officers. The first attempt to carry bombs may well have proven to be disastrous had not the mission been called off. It was just as well as our short comings were realized and every effort taken to correct them.

At first, the chief concern was in handling 500 lb. bombs but later the matter of employing fragmentation clusters came up. Before discussing clusters, it might be well to add that before any 500 lb. demolition bomb was dropped at least 5 attempts had been made to carry them. The first two missions were scrubbed before the planes took off. The third and fourth, the planes had taken off but because of poor visibility could not find the target and as a result were returned to the station. However, the fifth attempt proved successful.

Fragmentation clusters, at least the type the Group was to carry, were designed primarily for use by bombers and were not made to be carried externally. Because of this fact, it was found necessary to employ various and sundry adapters and modifications to either the cluster itself or to the sway braces. As standardization of such adapter was necessary not only within the Group but within Fighter Command as a whole, some delay was experienced before it was felt that it was safe, or at least before the Group felt ready to carry them. However, since all work had been concentrated towards making the clusters adaptable to P-47 aircraft, the replacement of our P-47 aircraft with P-51s presented new problems and required new methods. To date, several adapters have been manufactured either locally or by Fighter Command, but even with these, it is still necessary to improvise and try to make the use of clusters feasible. This Group has not as yet gone on a mission with fragmentation clusters.
Two armorers hanging 500 lb GP "Valentine" bomb on 368th Fighter Squadron P-47. Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, from records at HQ USAF Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

One modification which was required immediately was to the bomb lift truck. Since the present type truck was not intended to be used to raise the bomb to the fuselage or wings of an aircraft it was necessary to manufacture a cradle sloped at the proper angle so that the bomb could be raised into the shackle. Each Squadron undertook to make its own. Here too, the problem was duplicated when the Group changed over to P-51 aircraft. Originally designed to lift a bomb into the shackle under the fuselage of a P-47, it was inadequate for the wing shackles for the P-51. As a result, an addition or rather an extension was added to the cradle previously used.

22 January 1944 photo of bomb and bomb rack. Courtesy of Anthony C. Chardella: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

Perhaps one of the greatest hazards to which everyone, particularly pilots, were exposed to, was the danger of the bomb fin becoming loose from the bomb while the plane was in flight. In such cases, the tail fuze was invariably armed and in some cases, was sheared completely. One such incident occurred on this station when an aircraft returned with its bomb but less the bomb fin. The fuze had been sheared and consequently was armed. It required the services of a RAF Bomb Disposal Flight to remove the fuze. Because of this incident and two others at a later date, in fact on the next bombing mission when two more fins were lost, it was not only necessary but urgent that a method be found to tighten the fins sufficiently to prevent such recurrences. Towards this end, a wrench was designed and manufactured on this station which has proven to be the answer to this problem. Since the last time that a fin had become loose approximately 500 bombs have been carried and not one fin has become disengaged.

From the standpoint of reports of equipment stoppages, when the Group first went on operations, its stoppages per rounds fired were comparatively high, in fact higher than the average for the Command. However, as technical problems were solved, this rate followed a downward trend and up to the time that the changeover to P-51s took place, it was well within the average for the Command. However, with arrival of the P-51s new problems arose which required new techniques and new methods. Consequently, the stoppage rate per rounds fired was again higher then the average for the Command. During the last three reporting periods however, the number of such stoppages has been so reduced as to bring the total of this Group well above the average for the command, and in at least one period, the highest in the Wing.

The fact that all Ordnance units, sections and activities have been able to meet the demands that have been placed upon them since 5 June 1944 is tribute to their ability, ingenuity and determination to see a job well done. It has required patience, stamina and fortitude. Each section has been called upon to perform more than its share, particularly the Squadron Ordnance and Armament personnel and that of the Ammunition Section of the 1833rd where working around the clock became the practice. It was soon discovered that the only way that the required work could be accomplished was to create two shifts each working at least twelve hours per day. Long hours, little rest and satisfaction of seeing the results of their labor was all that could be offered to the personnel concerned.

The night before D-Day, word was received that a complete mission of each type of bomb was to be kept stored at the dispersal area of each aircraft. Not only was it necessary to deliver the bombs but fuzes had to be inspected and issued to each of the squadrons. It was not until after midnight that the job was completed but at least the deadline had been met. In this connection, it should be stated that what had been asked of us was contrary to Safety Rules and Regulations set forth by the Ordnance Department in that bombs were allowed to be stored without protective screening in the proximity of the installations and equipment. However, the instructions received were carried out. The tactical situation demanded that the risk be taken. To date, there has been no accident in which Ordnance Personnel have been involved.

Because of the fact that at the beginning practically all of the missions called for the use of bombs, it was necessary for either the Group Armament Officer and/or the Station Ordnance Officer to be present at these briefings, in order to brief the pilots as to type bombs and fuzes used, fuze settings, proper altitude for release etc. It was gratifying that in a small measure, our contribution to the total effort was being felt.

However, the conditions originally experienced have resolved themselves into routine day to day occurrences. While it is true that this routine is now more or less normal, still in all, Ordnance and Armament, whether in the Company, or in the Squadrons, or in the staff sections stand ready to do their share until the final completion of their appointed tasks.

Captain, Ord. Dept.,
Station Ord. Officer.


Text is from the report stored at HQ USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, transcribed and archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association. Photos archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Air Force Historical Foundation Nomination for Best Military History Book

Fogg in the Cockpit has been nominated by the Air Force Historical Foundation as one of the best military history books reviewed in Air Power History during 2012!

We truly don’t expect to win, but now understand why nominees say, “just being nominated is amazing.” It is!

Many thanks to the Air Force Historical Foundation.

We should also take a moment to again thank everyone who helped us on this journey, including our terrific publisher, Casemate, Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, Peter Randall, Rene Burtner, Ed Trumble and everyone at Leanin' Tree, Inc., and so many others. You know who you are!

Although the veterans of World War II are all but extinct their legacy surrounds us. Every time we read an uncensored newspaper, practice the religion of our choosing, cast a vote, or do any of a hundred little things we take for granted, they are there, looking over our shoulder. Let us never, ever, forget the members of the armed forces who put themselves in harm’s way then and continue to do so today. We owe them so much.

~ Richard and Janet Fogg

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Transition from P-47s to P-51s

April of 1944 was the last full month in which the 359th Fighter Group flew the Thunderbolts in which it trained for combat. Replacement of the P-47s, long delayed, was achieved with a rush at the end of the month, when ferry pilots flew glistening new silver Mustangs into the field at East Wretham by the dozen.

April essentially was a month of waiting: waiting for the arrival of the P-51s, waiting for the Luftwaffe to give battle, waiting for the day when strafers would find an airfield loaded with enemy aircraft, and, most of all waiting for the invasion of Festung Europa.

This was the month when the US Strategic Air Forces in Europe cascaded more than 40,000 tons of bombs upon the enemy and his installations: a larger tonnage of explosives than was achieved by the RAF Bomber Command in that magnificent organization’s systematic destruction by fire and bomb of the German and his cities, factories, and railroads.

Upper photo: March 27, 1944 photo of one of the first P-51Ds to arrive at East Wretham. Courtesy of Anthony C. Chardella: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

Middle photo: On May 2, 1944, S/Sgt Marshall L. Binder (on wing) gives paperwork regarding the changeover from P-47s to P-51s, to Harold L. Hollis (standing) of the 370th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group. Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, from records at HQ USAF Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Lower photo: Two bombs per Mustang. Courtesy of Elsie Palicka, wife of Ed Palicka, 370th Fighter Squadron Photographer: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

This text excerpt, included in
Fogg in the Cockpit, is from the April 1944 original monthly narrative History of the 359th Fighter Group, dated 4 May 1944, archived at HQ USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The complete documents were transcribed and provided courtesy of Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, from reports filed by Maurice F. X. Donohue, 359th Fighter Group historian and combat intelligence officer.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Briefing Room

The original Briefing Room (or War Room) at East Wretham Airfield. 
Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, 
from records at HQ USAF Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Detail of chalkboard from photo of the original Briefing Room, 
believed to be from the December, 30, 1943 mission. 
Photo archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, 
from records at HQ USAF Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.