By June 12, 1943, the 56th Fighter Group had lost a couple of pilots in combat. On that date, the 62nd Fighter Squadron conducted a fighter sweep with two flights between Blankenburge, Belgium, and Calais, France. Flying at 20,000 feet near Ypres, Belgium, they saw two flights of four FochWolf-190s each at 15,000 feet. Maj. David Schilling, the 62nd FS commander, led Blue Flight into a dive on the enemy. The enemy turned 180 degrees. Capt. Walter Cook, leading the 62nd’s Yellow Flight, turned his aircraft 270 degrees and found the enemy in front and below him. Cook and his flight dove on them from out of the sun.
He waited until he was about 325 yards directly behind the enemy aircraft before he fired. Most of the rounds went into the left wing, resulting in a fireball. With that, the FW-190 rolled to its left, then onto its back and began what became a violent spin to earth. As a result of that combat, Capt. Cook claimed the first kill in the unit that ended the war with more aerial victories than any other group in Eighth Air Force, the 56th Fighter Group.