The Pioneer Mustang Group: The 354th Fighter Group in World War II
As the first unit to fly the Merlin-engined P-51B in combat, the 354th Fighter Group adopted the nickname "Pioneer Mustang Group." Until D-Day, it escorted 8th AF heavy bombers to targets on the European Continent. The group then moved to France and supported Patton's Third Army from Normandy to Bavaria, and also participated in the Battle of the Bulge. Its pilots scored over 600 confirmed air victories, and forty-three of them became aces. This book is an almost day-to-day account of their aerial combat experiences and the "gypsy" lifestyle they and their support personnel led as they moved from one airfield to another across Western Europe.
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354lh Fighter Group Air Force airfield altitude April assigned attack Beerbower Bickell Blue Flight bombers bombs Boxted Bradley broke Brueland Cannon canopy Capt chute claimed climbing clouds cockpit combat mission crash-landing crashed credited crew chief Dahlberg Dalglish damaged deck destroyed dive Eagleston element leader enemy aircraft engine escort February feet fire flak flew flight leader flown four Frank O'Connor fuselage George Bickell German ground lLt guns Hess Howard Jack Bradley Jim Cannon Jim Keane killed landing Lashenden later Luftwaffe Major miles month Mustang Ninth Air Force Officer Operations overcast parachute plane pulled Red Ass reported Robert runway scored ship shot smoke spotted squadron leader squadron mates started strafing tail tanks target took tour turned U.S. Army unconfirmed air USAAF victory Wermacht White White Flight wing wingman yards