WWII from My Vantage Point

Petit, Ray

Published by Ray Petit, 2001
ISBN 10: 097131120X / ISBN 13: 9780971311206
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Synopsis: As war clouds darkened over Eastern Europe in the late 1930's and before the Japanese committed their "act of infamy," the United States initiated a military draft. The 18 to 20 something able Americans went to their draft boards and enlisted. The author, then living on a farm in northwestern Pennsylvania, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in October, 1941, and attended radio school in Scott Field, Illinois. In May, 1942, he was sent to New Orleans to join the 309th squadron of the 31st Pursuit Group. The 31st and the 1st Pursuit Groups were formed from Eddie Rickenbacker's WWI "Hat In The Ring" Pursuit Group. The 31st was building its strength for overseas combat duty. The Pursuit Group designation was changed to Fighter Group in May, 1942. They left for the European Theater of Operations in June, 1942. In England they were the first American Group to be trained by Royal Air Force pilots to fly the British Spitfire in the 8th Air Force. A 309th Squadron pilot was the first American to shoot down a German FW-190 in the European Theater. Th Group was a part of the Dieppe Raid against the coast of France and later, the North African invasion on November 8, 1942. In the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, as a part of the 12th Air Force, they provided air and groud support for the landings in Sicily and Italy. The Group changed airplanes to P-51 Mustangs when they became part of the strategic 15th Air Force in April, 1944 in central Italy, based in San Severo.

By the end of the war, the 31st Fighter Group became the highest scoring Fighter Group in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. They received two Distinguished Unit Citations and fifteen campaign streamers during the period covered by this journal. The 31st still exists today and the 31st Fighter Wing in Aviano, Italy. The Wing earned the first Outstanding Unit Award in the history of the United States Air Force.

The 309th Fighter Squadron is now based at Luke AFB, Arizona flying F-16 Falcons.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: WWII from My Vantage Point
Publisher: Ray Petit
Publication Date: 2001
Book Condition: Good
Edition: First Edition.

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