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

Prevention training goes face-to-face

Courtesy photo Maj. Jennifer Tomlinson, Air Education and Training Command Medical Readiness Division deputy chief, serves as facilitator during the AETC Medical Services and Training directorate annual Air Force Suicide Preven...
 
 
Senior Airman
JAMES HENSLEY

Thunderbolt looks to future

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Maddie Baker, 56th Dental Squadron acting commander secretary was an Air Force Honor Guard member prior to crossing over to the dental field. As the commander’s secretary, she plays a piv...
 
 

Tuskegee Airmen commemorated

The Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of Tuskegee Airman Inc. celebrated the 2nd Annual Tuskegee Airman Commemoration Day with a wreath ceremony Wednesday at the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Air Park. The Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day is the result of legislation signed into law by former Arizona Governor Janice Brewer in 2013 and is the first such law...
 

 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

Blue Blazers share with Airmen options for future

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Tech. Sgt. Steve Martin, Detachment 12, 372nd Training Support Squadron fuels systems instructor, sits in a speed mentor session March 18 at Luke Air Force Base. The Blue Blazers, a group of Fighter C...
 
 

Air Force News – March 27, 2015

Hawaii In January a team of intelligence Airmen began building the Pacific Air Forces’ first air watch capability. They shared a small computer nestled inside a cramped workspace. It was recently completed, and the team stood up and operated a 24-hour Pacific air watch. California Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen launched an unarmed LGM-30G...
 
 

People First – March 27, 2015

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 the title. Air Force COOL program kicks off The Community...
 




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