By Tom Ivie, Chris Davey
The 325th FG was once activated less than normal Order quantity 50 on 30 July 1942 and arrange education operations at Theodore F Greene box in windfall, Rhode Island. through mid-December 1942 the gang used to be thought of prepared for strive against and the alert for in a foreign country responsibility arrived on 2 January 1943. The pilots and their P-40s departed at the service USS Ranger on eight January and flew their airplane off the vessel into Cazes airfield, close to Casablanca, on 19 January 1943. After the rest of the group of workers arrived in past due February, the crowd ready for strive against, and eventually flew its first undertaking on 17 April 1943 as a part of the 12th Air strength. in the course of the subsequent 4 months it participated within the North African crusade, and operations opposed to enemy-held islands within the Mediterranean Sea. via the top of the Sicilian crusade on 17 August the 325th FG had scored 128 aerial victories, been the 1st P-40 unit to convey 1,000-lb bombs opposed to enemy objectives and had escorted 1,100 bombers with no wasting a...
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Additional info for Aces of the 325th Fighter Group
Having reached their destination, the Warhawk pilots would have to fly their P-40s off the vessel as the carrier sailed in open waters. For the next few days the squadrons spent time practising takeoffs from a simulated carrier deck. This training ended on 6 January, and 24 hours later the P-40s were flown to Norfolk Naval Yard, where they were loaded aboard Ranger. On 8 January the carrier and its screening ships sailed for the combat zone of North Africa. After a virtually uneventful voyage Ranger arrived at the point of takeoff and pilots were ordered to man their aeroplanes.
Victory number two was confirmed for Green. Two other pilots, Lt Rayburn Lancaster and Flt Off Bruce Cunningham, added to the day’s total, with each of them destroying a Bf 109. Sadly, the 325th lost a talented pilot and potential ace during the mission when Flt Off John Smallsreed, who had scored his third victory only the day before, was listed as missing in action (MIA) – no one had seen what had happened to him. On 29 and 31 May the 325th returned to Pantelleria to attack gun emplacements by dive-bombing with 500-lb bombs.
Lt Elliott’s flight went after the left-hand three and I led my flight after the right-hand two. I selected the one on the left as my target. Capt Raymond Hartley served with the 319th FS from December 1943 through to August 1944, commanding the squadron from March to June 1944. He scored two victories and one damaged with the ‘Checkertails’, and later became an ace by scoring three more kills as a member of the 353rd FG (Dwayne Tabatt collection via Carl Molesworth) Lt Robert M Barkey served in the 319th FS from December 1943 through to mid-June 1944, scoring six victories during his tour of duty.