Air Force

July 11, 2014

This week in history

Capt. Fred Christensen

July 7, 1944: Six in one day

Seventy years ago this week, Capt. Fred Christensen, 62nd Fighter Squadron, was the first American fighter pilot to shoot down six Luftwaffe aircraft in one day. In fact, it took him under two minutes.

Christensen was already a triple ace with 15.5 kills on July 7, 1944, the date of the action. His first aerial victory came on Nov. 26, 1943, and became an ace three days before Valentine’s Day 1944. Prior to July 7 he scored multiple kills four times.

That day’s mission was escorting bombers targeting the German’s synthetic oil industry. Allied planners thought without oil, the German war machine would grind to a halt. The escort mission was to the east to Brandenburg City, Germany.

Christensen led his flight of four at 25,000 feet. As they passed over the Gardelegen airdrome in Germany, Christensen saw about 35 aircraft parked on the ground. He led his flight to the east and down to 5,000 feet. He then turned back to set up the attack. As the flight made the turn toward the airfield, they saw 12 Junkers Ju 52s in trail trying to land. Ju 52s were a three engine transport aircraft.

Christensen put rounds into the wing of the trailing Ju52. As he flew past, the Junker blew up. He then picked up the next one in line and hit the engine and one wing. It exploded forcing the captain to pull up to avoid the debris. As he began firing into the wing of the next aircraft, the Junker pilot tried to take evasive action, but was so low, he ran into the ground.

Starting his attack on the fourth aircraft, Christensen’s engine stopped. As he checked his gages, he realized that the gas tank was empty. He switched to the main gas tank and air started his motor. He then rejoined the attack. Christensen fired several shots into an engine and the fourth aircraft dived into the ground.

He pulled off in a slow turn and ran across another Junker. He fired into the wings and the Ju 52 exploded. Another Junker was in the process of landing according to Christensen. The captain fired into one wing and a motor and the transport blew up.

The rest of the flight did well. Second Lt. Billy Edens also shot down three Ju 52s, which took him to seven kills and made him an ace. Capt. Michael Jackson, Christensen’s wing man, shot down one and brought the flight’s total to 10 Junkers shot down.

For Christensen and Edens, those were their last credited aerial victories of the war. In September 1944, combat ended very differently for both them. Christensen went home with his 21.5 aerial victories. Edens was not so lucky. While attacking a German airdrome on the nineth, Edens’ P-47 was downed by ground fire. He spent the rest of the war as a Prisoner of War, but the rest of his story will have to wait for another day.




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


 
 

 
courtesy-photo

Program ALIS initiated

No, it isn’t the Program Alice from the “Resident Evil” movies. It is the Autonomic Logistics Information Systems, also known as ALIS, which enables F-35 Lightning II operators to plan ahead to maintain and sustain its sy...
 
 

Air Force News – September 12, 2014

Germany Air Mobility Command’s mission is to provide rapid, global mobility and sustainment for America’s armed forces, a capability demonstrated during Steadfast Javelin II, a large-scale, joint multinational exercise held Aug. 31 through Thursday on Ramstein Air Base. Mauritania Six African nations participated in a week-long group intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance planning ex...
 
 

People First – September 12, 2014

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, click on the link in each header. CMSAF discusses enlisted evaluation changes Chief Master...
 

 

Tuition assistance program changes Oct. 1

Effective Oct. 1, new changes will go into effect that impact the Air Force Tuition Assistance Program. Personnel using the TA program will now be required to pass all undergraduate courses with a grade of “C” or higher. A grade of “D” will be considered a failing grade and members who do not meet the...
 
 
Senior Airmen Grace Lee

Airmen help pilots survive in wilderness

Senior Airmen Grace Lee Airman 1st Class Chris Long, 56th Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment journeyman, conducts a built-in test for the URT-44 personnel locator beacon, which is part of the survival kit that...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Close call in AOR didn’t discourage Airman

Courtesy photo Senior Airman Alten Hayes poses for a photo during his deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan. A rocket landed 60 feet away from his position but did not activate. This Indiana native wanted to be part of something ...
 




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