James J. Finnegan

Picture of James Finnegan JAMES J. FINNEGAN, born July 13,1922, in San Francisco, California. He was raised in that city where he graduated from Washington High School and briefly attended Saint Mary's College, Moraga, California.

He then went to work for Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company from which he enlisted in the Army Aviation Cadet Program in July 1942. However, his orders to active duty did not come until January 17, 1943, when he left for Texas.

All Jim's pilot training took place in that state where he graduated in the class of 43K from McAllen. His R.T.U. took place in Galveston from which he left and joined the 50th Fighter Group, 10th Fighter Sqdn., in June 1944, in Europe.

Finnegan traveled with the 50th eastward across France, supporting General Patton's 3rd Army in close ground support missions. He received the DFC for leading his flight in strafing and destroying heavily armed ground transports on March 20, 1945. He completed his tour in Europe in late April 1945, after 127 combat missions. Jim met his future wife at a dance in Nancy, France, while conducting a dance band composed of both pilots and enlisted men of the 10th Sqdn.

His wife, Frances, was an Army Nurse from the 238th General Hospital at Dijon. As a result of this union, five children were born and as of the publication of this book, they have produced six grandchildren. Fran and Jim live in San Rafael, California.

In December, 1979, Finnegan was notified that an ME-262 he had claimed as "damaged and probable" while flying a JUG in a B-26 escort mission on April 25, 1945, turned out to be an actual downing of a German jet fighter piloted by Lt Gen Adolph Galland. Galland was a leading Luftwaffe fighter ace with 104 kills, all on the western front. The notification to Finnegan came from a researcher who confirmed this after thorough examination of Air Force Records and Galland's own account in his auto-biography "The First and the Last."

Since that time, Finnegan and Galland have met in California and have become good friends corresponding frequently.

List of all P47 Pilots:
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Pilot Name Biography Summary
John Abbotts P-47 transition followed at Pocatello, Idaho and Greenville, Texas after which he was assigned to the 56th Fighter Group in England. When the news of his arrival reached Berlin, Hitler retired to his bunker with his cyanide capsule and revolver. Eva found the news equally depressing.
Asa A. Adair He returned to the States in August of 1944 after participating in the invasion "D" Day. He flew P-63's, P-51's, F-80's, T-33's, F-84's, T-38's, P-47's in numerous assignments during the following twenty years in in, Japan, U.S.A. and Europe before retiring after twenty-six years of Active Duty.
Edward B. Addison The 507th Fighter Group, equipped with P-47N's, won the Presidential Unit Citation for destroying 32 Japanese aircraft in the air on one mission to Seoul, Korea. The average flying time for raids to Korea and Japan would be 7 to 9 hours flying time. In a total of 31 months, the 507th not only provided top cover for B-29's, but also dive-bombed, napalm-bombed and flew low-level on strafing missions.
Levon B. Agha-Zarian It is rumored that he, took his primary training on a flying rug. He flew Spits, briefly, in England, but as the, war moved to the East, he was sent to India as a Sgt. Pilot and first saw action from Ceylon, flying the Curtiss P.36, the Brewster Buffalo, and the Hurricane. At this point he might have opted for the rug! This was at the time of the fall of Singapore and the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse.
George N. Ahles Posted to A-20 light bomber squadron Barksdale Field, Louisiana. . Group moved to Hunter Air Base Savannah, Georgia. Qualified for Pilot training November 1940. Entered Aviation Cadets January 1942. Presented wings November 1942 class of 42-J. Married Mary Louise while in Advanced Pilot Training at Craig AFB, Selma, Alabama, September 1942.
Roy J. Aldritt Shortly after the group moved to France he ran into some unseen flak and was forced to make a nylon descent behind the lines; some evasion and a lot of luck had him back with his unit in 24 hours.
Eugene J. Amaral After graduation from Stonington High School he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in December 1942 and was called to active duty in March, 1943. He received his wings and commission at Spence Field, Georgia as a member of the Class of 43-C.
Talmadge L. Ambrose Flew 84 missions thru VE Day, was downed by 22mm ground fire over Siefried Line. He destroyed 11 enemy aircraft, 9 known confirmed in air and on ground, including 4 FW 190-D's in one afternoon over Hanover, Germany, April 8, 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 17 man, Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Pacific Theatre and European Theatre Meda1s with 5 Battle Stars and Unit Citation Medal.
John C. Anderson After P-47 transition he was assigned to the 406th Fighter Group, 512th Fighter Squadron. (E.T .0.) He flew 56 missions through January, 1945 destroying supply routes, bridges, and railroads; he also flew close support missions with the ground forces, with attacks on tanks, artillery and enemy positions.
William Anderson It was not always flak,two ME-109's beat the hell out of me one day. The central controller called me and said "Basher-Red Leader do you have contact Bandits," I replied, "I sure do, I'll bring them over the field in 3 minutes, they're chasing me home." Got all the usual medals including two Belgium and two French but one I'm most proud of is the Silver Star -it is the greatest.
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