352 FG Association

The 352nd FG Association was founded in 1983 when 19 veterans of the Group met in Orlando, Florida while attending an Eighth Air Force Reunion. The first official Association reunion was held in Oklahoma City in 1984 with 130 members and spouses attending and later grew to a membership of more than 1,100 veterans of the 352nd FG and 1st Service Group who served at Bodney, England and Chievres and Asch, Belgium between 1943 and 1945 during the Second World War.

352nd Fighter Group History

Read the history of the 352nd FG Squadron insignia Read the history of the 352nd FG Squadron insignia Read the history of the 352nd FG Squadron insignia
328th FS 486th FS 487th FS

Like one of America's mighty rivers, the 352nd FG had its beginnings in the merging of smaller units into a superb fighting force which would account for 776 enemy aircraft destroyed, fourth among all 8th Air Force units.

The 352nd Fighter Group was constituted in Sept 1942 and activated at Brandley Field, CT on October 1, 1942. Two of its squadrons, the 21st (later changed to the 486th) and the 34th (later changed to the 487th) had long combat histories, but like the newly formed 328th, were short on experienced personnel. Early flight training in the P-47 Thunderbolts was at Westover, Trumbell, LaGuardia and Mitchel fields. Most of the enlisted personnel, Det. "A" of the 1st Service Group arrived in January, 1943.

The Group embarked from New York harbor July 1, 1943, arriving in Scotland July 5th and a few days later reached their new base at Bodney, England. Training for combat became intense those next few months.

The Group flew its first combat mission on September 9, 1943, an uneventful sweep out over the North Sea to escort returning B-17s. Some 40 pilots participated in this mission. Although the 352nd had several minor encounters with the enemy in their early missions, it wasn't until November 26th that Major J. C. Meyer, C.O. of the 487th Squadron scored their first victory-an Me-109 attacking the bombers near Gronigen-the first of many victories for the 352nd.

During WWII the 352nd flew 420 missions, 59,387 operational combat hours, destroyed 776 enemy aircraft and had 29 aerial aces. Returning to the U.S. at war's end, the unit was deactivated.

Highlights and Outstanding Achievements of the 352nd FG

  • Among leading aces of the AAF and USAF in both WWII and the Korean War, 352nd pilots Col J.C. Meyer ranks second; Major Bill Whisner ranks fifth; and Lt Col Ed Heller ranks nineteenth. Whisner was one of only seven pilots that became an ace in both WWII and the Korean War.

  • Among the leading Allied air aces of WWII, two 352nd pilots, Major George Preddy and Col J.C. Meyer ranked sixth and seventh.

  • The 352nd can claim more "aces in a day" with five victories on one mission than any other Mustang group in either theater.  George Preddy (six Me109's),  Don Bryan (five FW190's), Carl J. Luksic (four FW190's, one Me109), and William T. Whisner (five FW190's) led the way.

  • The top two Mustang aces were Major George E Preddy, Jr. with 23.83 aerial victories in the P-51 and Col. J.C. Meyer with 21 Mustang victories.  Maj. Preddy  scored three more victories in a P-47D for a total of 26.83, and Col. Meyer also scored three in a P-47D for a total of 24.

  • Seven 352nd pilots became "ground aces in a day", destroying five or more in ground attacks.

  • Twelve 352nd pilots scored aerial victories over German jet fighters.

  • Twenty-nine of the USAAF's aerial aces over Europe were 352nd pilots.

  • Ten 352nd pilots were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the 2nd highest U.S. combat award. Col J.C. Meyer receiving the DSC three times and Captain Bill Whisner twice. Lt Ed Heller got the DSC for setting the 8th AF strafing record.

  • Seven 352nd pilots continued their military careers and attained the rank of General. One of these, Col J. C. Meyer, the only fighter pilot in WWII to attain four-star rank, commanded the Strategic Air Command and later became the Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force.  The seven Generals from the 352nd were: John C. Meyer, Luther Richmond, Sanford Moats, Bill Pattillo, Buck Pattillo, Glenn Moran, and Gustav Lundquist.

  • Twin-brothers Bill and Buck Pattillo, both pilots in the 352nd, later flew with the first USAF Thunderbird team. Both went on to attain General rank.

  • One 352nd squadron was the only 8th Air Force Squadron to be awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation. This award came after a mission flown from a Belgian airfield during Operation Bodenplatte when 12 pilots of the 487th, led by Colonel Meyer, shot down 24 attacking German fighters without a loss while under a strafing attack on takeoff.

  • The 486th Squadron participated in the first "Shuttle Mission" flown by the 8th AF from England to Russia to Italy to England escorting bombers to targets en-route. On this mission, Lt. Ed Heller scored the longest range fighter victory of the war with a victory over Poland.

Aces of the 352nd Fighter Group

Major George E Preddy, Jr. 26.83 Cripes A'Mighty (P-47D), Cripes A'Mighty ("B" model Mustang), Cripes A'Mighty 3rd and Cripes A'Mighty( "D" Model Mustangs)
Col John C Meyer 24 Lambie, Petie 2nd, Petie 3rd
Captain John F Thornell 17.25 Pattie Ann
Captain William T Whisner 15.5 Princess Elizabeth, Moonbeam McSwine
Major Donald S Bryan 13.33 Little One, Little One II, Little One III
Lt Glennon T Moran 13 Miss Ann
Captain Raymond H Littge 10 Silver Dollar, E Pluribus Unum, Miss Helen
Lt Col William T Halton 10 Slender, Tender, & Tall
Lt Virgil K Meroney 9 Sweet Louise, Sweet Louise II
Major Steven W Andrew 9 Prairie Farmer/Spirit of Los Angeles City College
Captain Charles J Cesky 8.5 Diann Ruth, Diann Ruth II
Lt Carl J Luksic 8.5 Lucky Boy, Elly's Lucky Boy
Captain Sanford S Moats 8.5 Kay, Kay III
Lt Col Everett W Stewart ** 7.83 Sunny IV, The Margarets
Lt Henry J Mkilajcyk 7.5 The Syracusan, Syracusan the 3rd
Lt Frank A Cutler 7.5 Soldier's Vote
Walter E. Starck 7 Lucia, Starck Mad (L) Even Stevens (R)
Captain Clarence Johnson** 7 Bula B VI
Lt Col Willie O Jackson 7 Hot Stuff
Lt Francis W Horne 5.5 Hi Yo Silver, Snoots' Sniper
Captain Edwin L Heller 5.5 Happy, Hell-er Bust
Captain William J Stangel 5 Stinky 2nd
Lt Earl R Lazear 5 Pennie's Earl
Captain Clayton E Davis 5 Marjorie, Marjorie II
Lt Ernest O Bostrom 5 Little Marjie
Captain Alexander Sears 5 The Sheepherder
Captain Duerr H Schuh 5 Duchess
Col Joe L Mason 5 This is it
Lt Alden Rigby 5 Eleen & Jerry

** Scored some victories with other Groups