Lt Col Donald S. Bryan

In early July 1943, I, along with 20,000 other young men, set sail aboard the Queen Elizabeth bound for war-torn England. After five quick days of zigzagging across the Atlantic avoiding stealthy German U-boats, we arrived at our new home. The 352nd Fighter Group was assigned to Bodney, a huge grass field with no runways. Cross-wind landings were a thing of the past, as we could now take off and land into the wind every time.

Our P-47s began to trickle in and arrive at Bodney, and soon all aircraft were present and accounted for. It felt good to get

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Col William B. Bailey

The nagging thought returned as I crossed the English Channel: ‘Did I make the right choice?’ As CO of the 352nd Fighter Squadron, 353rd Fighter Group flying the P-47 Thunderbolt, beside and behind me at 26,000ft were an additional 15 olive drab P-47s containing pilots for whose lives I was responsible.

The P-47, although huge in comparison to other Allied fighters, was a delight to fly. With its big Pratt & Whitney R-2800 out front, it was intimidating at first, but once inside this spacious cockpit the ‘Jug’ was a real honest airplane, stable and easy to fly at all

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