It had taken almost six years of continual air fighting for the Allied forces to attain complete and total air superiority over the Luftwaffe. At the outbreak of World War II the mighty German Air Force had appeared invincible but the ensuing Battle of Britain gave the Luftwaffe its first taste of what was to come. When America joined the war, bringing with her to Europe ne wtypes of fighters and bombers, the writing must have been clearly chalked on the wall of Hitlers bunker. Unleashing the full power of the Eighth Air Force against the Third Reich by day, and with the RAF Bomber Commands constant attacks by night, production in Germanys aircraft and munitions factories became fatally depleted. In the air the Allied fighter pilots were beginning to dominate the skies, and by the spring on 1945, had achieved complete air superiority. It had been a long and bitter struggle, fought with great courage and sacrifice.
Colonel C. E. Bud Anderson
Bud Anderson went to England with the 357th Fighter Group in 1943, the first Eighth Air Force Group to be equipped with the P-51 Mustang. He got himself on the score sheet on one of the first Berlin missions, dog fighting with a bunch of Me109s who had set upon a straggling B-17. On 29th June 1944, leading his squadron on a mission to Leipzig, they ran into a formation of Fw190s. In the ensuing battle Anderson shot down the leader, and two more Fw190s. After a short rest in the U.S., Bud returned for a second tour, just in time for the 357th's big day on 27th November 1944. With the 353rd they took on a huge formation of some 200 enemy fighters, Anderson adding three more to his score. He finished the war with 16 air victories and many more probables.
Brigadier General Frank L. Gailer
Frank Gailer was posted to England, joining the 357th Fighter Group at Leiston. Flying with the 363rd FS he went into combat in august, and in the next few months destroyed 6 enemy aircraft before being shot down in November 1944. Captured by the Germans, he was interned in Stalug I. After the war, in Vietnam, he commanded the 35th TFW at Phan Rang AB, flying over 500 hours combat on F-100s. In 1969 he returned to England once again, to command the 48th TW, and then as Vice-Commander of Third Air Force, USAF Europe.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Schimanski
Born in Spokane, Washington in 1920, Bob Schimanski graduated as a fighter pilot, and was posted to join the 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group in England. During his tour of duty on P51s at Leiston, he flew 70 combat missions, getting on the score sheet with the first of his victories on 13th September 1944. He became an Ace on 2 Match 1945 when he downed a Me109 south of Magdeburg. By the end of his tour had achieved 6 air victories, all but one against Me109s, plus a further two on the ground.
Captain Robert P. Winks
Robert Winks joined the service in 1943, and after training was posted to England. Flying his first combat mission in July 1944, he served with the 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group. His year long tour in Europe took in the heavy fighting over the Battle of the Bulge, the missions to support the Arnhem operations, and the Battle of Berlin, when the 357th destroyed 56 enemy aircraft. During this time he flew some 69 combat missions. His personal P-51D was 'Trusty Rusty'.
Image size: 29 1/4" wide x 16" high.