Forrest Parham enlisted in the Army and rose to rank of Colonel. He scored three victories over Japanese aircraft while flying the P-40N before transitioning to the P-51B and adding two more to make ace with five. He was shot down over Shanghai in April 1945, but evaded capture and returning to his unit a month later.
Eduard McComas was the commander of the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group based in China. He was shot down behind Japanese lines in September 1944, but evaded capture and returned to his unit with the help of Chinese guerrillas. After his return he scored his first aerial victory and added steadily to his score. On 23DEC44 he was photographing a Japanese airfield when the aircraft based there began taking off to intercept him. McComas downed five Japanese fighters, becoming the only pilot in the CBI to score five in a single mission.
“Miss Revenge” F-6C MAJ Eduard O. McComas 118 TRS 23 FG, Aeromaster 72-177 decals
Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc – the Rangers Who Landed at D-Day and Fought Across Europe
Authored by Patrick K. O’Donnell, Narrated by John Pruden
Audiobook, 8 hours and 11 minutes
Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Company D of the U.S. Army’s Second Ranger Battalion was one of the Allied units which landed at Normandy, but unlike most units it was tasked with a very specific and difficult mission; scale the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc, and destroy the German guns emplaced there. If the guns were not destroyed, they could target any troops landing on either Omaha or Utah beach and jeopardize the entire invasion of Europe.
The book follows “Dog” Company (Dog being the phonetic pronunciation of the letter D) from recruitment and training Stateside to its deployment to England. In preparation for the D-Day landings, the Rangers practiced the technics of amphibious landings and scaling cliffs along the English coast.
Despite all the training, the actual landings at Pointe Du Hoc were chaotic. Several Rangers were put ashore on Omaha beach, those that were landed at their intended locations fought largely on their own for two days. They moved to their objectives in small groups, and in remarkable displays of personal initiative managed to accomplish their missions and defend their positions until they could link up with the rest of the American forces.
After being rebuilt and re-equipped, the Rangers went on to fight in the Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. The Ranger Battalions were repeatedly thrust into the thick of the fighting, and by the end of the war eleven months after D-Day few of the original men remained.
The author tells the story of the Rangers from the soldiers’ personal perspectives, relying largely on interviews with the survivors. There are a number of parallels with the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division as told in Band of Brothers and this book compares well to that work. Recommended.
Tex Hill was recruited from the U.S. Navy to fly with the American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers”, rising to command the 2nd Pursuit “Panda Bears”. He was credited with 12.25 kills with the AVG. When the Flying Tigers were officially disbanded on 04JUL42 Hill was one of five AVG veterans who stayed on to form the nucleus of the USAAF’s 23rd Fighter Group. The group eventually traded in its P-40s for P-51 Mustangs, and Hill rose to the rank of Colonel and command of the 23rd. Hill destroyed another 6 Japanese aircraft while flying the Mustang, bringing his final score to 18.25, but did not display his kill markings as he thought they would draw attention. He retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Brigadier General in 1968.
Serial Number 43-12405 “Bull Frog” P-51B-1-NA 23FG LCOL David “Tex” Hill, Aeromaster 72-176 decals
On an impulse, Ralph Hofer joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941. He was shipped out to England and flew Hurricanes, but saw no combat until he transferred to the 4th Fighter Group at Debden, then equipped with the P-47 Thunderbolt. Hofer was undisciplined and reckless in the air, preferring to attack enemy aircraft on his own without regard for the mission. His luck held until 02JUL44, when he was shot down by flak while single-handedly strafing a German airfield in Yugoslavia. Hofer was credited with destroying 30.5 German aircraft, including ground victories.
Serial Number 42-106924 “Salem Representative” P-51B-15-NA Ralph “Kid” Hofer, 334 FS 4 FG, Kits-World KW172002 decals
WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT― Thomas Jefferson