Air Force

November 8, 2013

This Week in History

Lt. George Hall, 63rd Fighter Squadron

1943: 100th aerial victory for 56th Fighter Group

Col. Hubert Zemke, 56th Fighter Group commander, made a promise to his group, which was to be the first fighter group in the European theater to reach 100 aerial victories by Sadie Hawkins Day, Nov. 6, 1943. Lt. George Hall, 63rd Fighter Squadron, helped fulfill the commander’s promise Nov. 5 when he downed the last kill of the day.

Just 206 days earlier on April 13 the group flew its first combat sortie from Royal Air Force Horsham St. Faith, near Norwich, Norfolk County, England.

As the Americans honed their skills, their combat effectiveness improved and they began to rack up victories beginning with Capt. Walter Cook who earned the group’s first aerial victory on June 12.

The group flew a bomber escort mission Nov. 3 and tallied three kills. Zemke influenced 8th Air Force planners to also put the 56th FG on another mission Nov. 5 to Münster, Germany, in support of two combat boxes of B-24s. Bomber combat boxes were designed to provide mutual supporting defensive firepower against enemy fighters.

Two minutes after the 56th crossed the Dutch coast, they jettisoned their fuel tanks. Five minutes later they joined the bombers. The 63rd FS flew on the right side of the lead bomber box, with the 61st on the left side. The 62rd FS covered the rear bomber box.

Just south of the town of Rheine, Germany, 30 enemy fighters flew in from the north at about the same altitude as the bombers. When they saw the American fighters, they hesitated in their attack. That pause gave the two lead squadrons a chance to gain the advantage and attack the German fighters.

The 56th Fighter Group recorded six kills that day, including one each for Zemke, and Maj. Francis Gabreski. The last aerial victory for the day went to Hall.

During the fray, Hall saw a Messerschmitt Me 210 about 5,000 feet below and to the right of him. Diving out of the sun, the enemy gunner did not see Hall until he was within 5,000 yards. The Messerschmitt turned left. Hall fired at a 300-yard distance and watched his bullets strike the aircraft around the pilot.

The Messerschmitt flipped to the left and then to the right, causing Hall to make an evasive hard right turn. Even so, his aircraft was struck by debris, but he was close enough to see the enemy pilot who appeared dead and the gunner who jumped from the aircraft. Hall watched as the enemy aircraft spiraled toward the earth.

With Hall’s victory, the 56th FG’s tally was 100.5 aerial victories.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Lightening-within-five

Lightning over Luke …

The F-35 Lightning II isn’t the only lightning striking over Luke Air Force Base. This strike, about five miles west of the Luke flightline, was captured on camera at 1:12 a.m. Aug. 12 at the jet engine test cell.
 
 

Program smooths change from military to civilian life

It can be difficult to find work in today’s economy, even more so for families that are moving to a new area or families that are transitioning from military to civilian life. One program available to veterans is the Workforce Investment Act, which can help veterans have a smooth transition to civilian work. The 56th...
 
 

New form second chance to do EPRs right

Without fail, every time I am around a group of young NCOs, there is one subject guaranteed to come up — the enduring question of “How can I write a stronger EPR for my Airman?” My answer to this question is fairly standard and is one that a chief shared with me many years ago....
 

 

Plan for final out

How many of you are prepared for life outside of the military? Seriously, if you were told tomorrow was your final out, what would you do? We are currently in an environment where Defense Department rollbacks are a serious issue we must all contemplate. Fewer officers are being commissioned. Last year there was only one...
 
 

News Briefs August 22, 2014

Commander’s call Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, will hold a commander’s call Monday in the Luke Air Force Base theater at 7 a.m. for Airmen, 9 a.m. for NCOs, 11 a.m. for senior NCOs, 1 p.m. for civilians, 3 p.m. for officers and 5 p.m. for those not able to make another...
 
 
Airman 1st Class 
JAMES HENSLEY

Commandant challenges students to be best

Airman 1st ClassJAMES HENSLEY Master Sgt. Sheris Poisson, 56th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School commandant, briefs students Aug. 12 about the active-shooter exercise Aug. 15 at Luke Air Force Base. Poisson asked ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin