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Click to read the meaning of the 20th.FG Insignia


- Stationed: King's Cliffe, UK (AAF Station F-367-England)   26 August, 1943 to 11 October, 1945
- Assigned To The 8th. Air Force: 25 August, 1943
- First Mission: 28 December, 1943   Final Mission: 25 April, 1945
- Wing/Command Assignments: VIII FC 25 August, 1943; VIII FC, 67 FW 6 October, 1943;
1 BD, 67 FW 15 September, 1944; 1 AD, 67 FW 1 Jan 1945.
- Distinguished Unit Citation: 8 April, 1944 for sweep over Germany.
- Oldest USAAF group to be assigned to the 8th AF for extended period of time.
- Best P-51 maintenance record of any 8th AF group for final months of the war.
- Two highest scoring P-38 aces of the 8th.AF (James Morris and Lindol Graham)

- Station Callsign: "Churchpath"
- Group Callsign: "Denton" (up to 22 April, 1944)
- Group Callsigns: (after 22 April, 1944)
  "Walnut" (A Group)
  "Oatmeal" (B Group)
  "Katie" (C Group)
-232 Confirmed Victories-
-125 Battle Casaulties-
-312 Combat Missions Flown-
-15,862 Aircraft Dispatched-
-56 Prisoners of War (10 Evaders)-
-69,112 Operational Hours Flown-
-987,618 Rounds of Ammunition Fired-
-683,680 lbs. Of Bombs Dropped-

- Articles About The 20th.FG -
Please note that I have moved this section to a page all it's own for your convenience.
Just click on the link above and you're there!

- Information Wanted -
Please help answer a few questions for us researchers!
Put on those thinking caps and click the link above, please!

- 20th.FG Picture of the Month -
Something that caught my eye and I thought should be shared.

- The Commanders of the 20th.FG -

The brass of the 20th.FG
The "Brass" of the 20th.FG (1944):
(l to r:) Col. Harold Rau, CO 20th, FG; Col. Ben Kelsey - USAAC Chief Test Pilot;
Lt. Col. Robert Montgomery, Deputy Group CO; and Lt. Col. Russell Gustke, CO 77th.FS.

Col. Barton Russell
(January, 1943 - March, 1944)
Col. Harold Rau
(March,1944 - June, 1944)
Col. Cy Wilson
(June, 1944 - August,1944)
Col. Harold Rau
(August,1944 - December,1944)
Col. Robert P. Montgomery
(Dec., 1944 - End of War)

- The Legendary Men of the 20th. FG -

20th.FG pilots synchronize their watches after a mission briefing. Col. Cy Wilson is shown in the center, wearing the Mae West.
20th.FG pilots synchronize their watches after a mission briefing.
Col. Cy Wilson is shown in the center, wearing the Mae West.

Lt. Col. Herb Johnson
( Dept.CO 20th. FG)
Various Sources
Maj. Edward J. Steiner
(IO 20th. FG)
By: Capt. Art Heiden
Capt. James Bradshaw
(Flight Leader, 79th.FS)
By: Capt. Art Heiden
Capt. Arthur W. Heiden
(Flight Leader, 79th.FS)
By: S.R. Edwards and R.R. Bradshaw
Lt. Ernest C. Fiebelkorn
(Top ace, 20th.FG)
Various Sources
Lt. Col. Russell Gustke
(CO 77th.FS.)
Various Sources
T/Sgt. Max Pyles
(Crew Chief "Lucky Lady")
By: Capt. Arthur Heiden
Col. Royal Frey
By: Mathew P. Cicero
Col. R.C. Franklin
(CO 79th.FS)
By: Capt. Arthur W. Heiden
Maj. Merle J. Gilbertson
(77th.FS Ops Officer)
Various Sources
Maj. George S. Wemyss
(20th.FG Ops Officer)
Coming Soon!
1st.Lt. Harry E. Bisher
(Asst. 55th.FS Ops Officer)
Various Sources
The Brothers Van Sickle
(pilots, 77th.FS)
Various Sources
2nd. Lt. Walter F. Perra
Various Sources
Lt. Russell Quinn
Coming Soon!
Capt. Donald A. Reihmer
(C.O., 77th.FS)
Various Sources
Capt. Harley L. Brown
(Ace, 55th.FS)
Various Sources
Capt. Charles Cole, Jr.
(Ace, 77th.FS)
Various Sources
Capt. James Morris
(Ace, 77th.FS)
Various Sources
Capt. Joseph McKeon
(Ace, 77th.FS)
Various Sources
Maj. Jack Price
(Ace,Dept. C.O. 20th.FG)
Various Sources
Capt. Lindol Graham
(Ace, 79th.FS)
Various Sources
Maj. Jack M. Ilfrey
(Ace/C.O. 79th.FS)
Various Sources
Capt. Clifford "88" Kies
(Flight Commander, 79th.FS)
Various Sources
Maj. Merle B. Nichols
(C.O., 77th.FS)
Various Sources
Maj. Richard P. Gatterdam
(C.O., 55th.FS)
Various Sources
Capt. Herschel F. Ezell
(20th.FG Bombardier)
Various Sources
2nd. Lt. James C. Hart
Various Sources
Capt. Thomas J. Daniel
(Flight Commander, 79th.FS)
Various Sources
Capt. Dan D. Oxley
(Flight Commander, 55th.FS)
Various Sources
Capt. Chester A. Hallberg
(Asst. Squadron Ops Officer,55th.FS)
Various Sources
Capt. Melvin C. Pannell
(Flight Commander, 55th.FS)
Various Sources
Sgt. John Hudgens
(79th.FS Operations)
Various Sources
2nd.Lt. Denis Alison
By: Syd Edwards and Martin Kösters
2nd. Lt. Robert Matyasz
By: Joss LeClerq
2nd.Lt. Philip Pearson, Jr.
Various Sources
Maj. John C. Wilkins
(Dept. Group C.O.)
Various Sources
Maj. Donald H. McAuley
(C.O. 55th. FS)
By: David Knight
Capt. Terrence M. Williams
(Flight Commander, 55th. FS)
By: Peggy Williams
More Biographies Coming Soon!

- Markings of the 20th. FG Aircraft -

"Lucky Lady," of the 79th.FS, as portrayed on a USPS .32 cent stamp in 1997.

The 20th. FG was comprised of three squadrons:
(Click on the squadron number to view a roster of their pilots and P-51s.)

- The 55th. FS (Callsign: "Towntalk" until April, 1944, then "Sailor" -A Group- and "Pator" -B Group-)
(Black triangle on tail with the last letter of the squadron code in white, Squadron codes beginning with KI-)

- The 77th. FS (Callsign:"Rebuke" until April, 1944, then "Outcry" -A Group- and "Glory" -BGroup-)
(Black circle on tail with white last letter of squadron code, Squadron codes beginning with LC-)

- The 79th.FS (Callsign: "Crownright" until April, 1944, then "Primrose" -A Group- and "Screwgun" - B Group-)
(Black square on tail with the last letter of the squadron code in white, squadron codes beginning with MC-.)

Until the summer of 1944 the group was equiped with the twin-tailed Lockheed P-38 Lightning, originally painted in the standard olive drab over neutral gray scheme of the USAAF. When the AAF opted to leave their aircraft bare, the later model aircraft of the 20th. arrived in natural (unpainted) aluminum with only a few distinguishing marks. The 20th.FG P-38s (as in Capt. Heiden's P-38, portrayed in the stamp shown above,) wore yellow on both spinners and the fronts of their engine nacelles and a white band on the nose just behind the gun ports. The group flew P-38H and J models from December, 1943 to 21 July, 1944. There were also a few P-38L models that made their way to the 20th prior to the Group's transition to the North American P-51 Mustang.

55th.FS P-51s warming up before take off.
55th.FS P-51s warmup prior to take off on another mission. Note the "piano keys" or "zebra stripes" on the engine cowling. The spinners on these aircraft are completely black, denoting that they are from the training section of the 20th.FG.

The 20th. FG transitioned to the North American P-51C and D Mustang on 21 July,1944. These aircraft were delivered natural (unpainted) aluminum with the first third of the spinner painted white, from there to just before the exhaust stacks, the aircraft were painted black, this followed by a white stripe (see Bradshaw photo below.)

After August-September of 1944, the 20th.'s Mustangs were adorned with what was affectionately known as "Piano Keys" or "Zebra Stripes" on their noses for their Quick Identification Markings. This was a series of seven black and six white vertical bands, each six inches wide, that ran from the anti-glare panel to just below the exhaust stacks. Nose art was generally applied below this band and usually consisted of little more than the aircraft's name. Many of the 20th.'s P-51s were painted olive drab on the tops of the fuselage, wings and tail surfaces, this feathered downward in an illregular manor to aprox. the top of the national insignia and aircraft's ID letter. The flight commanders' aircraft also bore black ETO bands on the tops and bottoms of the wings, vertical and horizontal tail surfaces. The first third of the spinner was painted white with the remainder being black, except for aircraft used for training which had all black spinners(see photo above). There are pictures of many with the national insignia's white areas "grayed out", though these seems to have been individual choice or the result of exhaust staining, and not necessarily regulation. In many cases serial numbers on the Mustangs' vertical tails were painted over by the squadron's identification symbol (triangle, circle or square,)but again there seems to be no clear-cut rules on this. In December of 1944 the group received their first P-51K models, which externally were little different from the D models. It should also be noted that many sources state the last letter of the squadron codes corresponded to the first letter of the assigned pilot's last name (example: MC-I was a 79th.FS P-51 flown by Jack Ilfrey.) In cases where the squadron contained more than one pilot whose last name began with the same letter a bar was added beneath the letter on both the tail and the fuselage.(As visible in the photograph above, nearest P-51.)

Capt. Bradshaw and his crew
Capt. James "Brad" Bradshaw and his crew in front of "Jeanie." Note the olive drab paint applied to the top surfaces of the aircraft and the D-Day Invasion stripes on the landing gear door. This picture was taken 5 August, 1944, prior to the addition of the "piano keys"/"zebra stripes". Bradshaw completed over 300 hours in combat and received two Distinguished Flying Crosses , three air medals. and a Distinguished Unit Citation.


(Top photographs courtesy of Jack Ilfrey, other photographs courtesy of Dr. R.R. Bradshaw)

Unless otherwise noted, all content © copyright The Art of Syd Edwards 1998-1999-2000-2001. All rights reserved and reproduction is prohibited.