Kenneth R. Lewis

Picture of Ken Lewis KENNETH R. LEWIS, born December 6, 1922, at Humphrey, Nebraska,graduated from St. Francis High School in 1940 and worked for N.W. Bell Telephone Company as a Lineman until entry into the Army Air Corps on January 30, 1943. His Basic Training was at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; College Training Detachment at University of Missouri; Cadet Training at San Antonio, Texas; Primary - PT19 - at Vernon, Texas; Basic - BT13 - at Greenville, Texas; Advanced A T6 at Victoria, Texas - graduated Class 44D.

Had Gunnery - P40 - on Matagorda Island and Combat Training - P47 - at Wendover, Utah. Was sent overseas in October, 1944, on Liberty Ship "Cornelius Gilliam" to Mediterranean Theater, assigned to 66th Fighter Squadron - 57th Fighter Group at Grossetto, Italy. He completed 101 Missions as part of "Operation Strangle" - Dive Bombing, Strafing, Close Support, Flak Diversion, Bomber Escort and Weather Reconnaissance as part of Northern Appenines and Po Valley Campaigns.

Was shot UP but not DOWN! Awarded Campaign Ribbon with Two Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with 5 Clusters.

After VE Day, was sent home on R&R when his Group was reassigned to the Pacific and was in the States on VJ Day. Sent to Santa Ana, California for separation. While there hitched a ride on a B29 and had to bailout over the desert due to fire aboard! Still have ripcord! After being separated on December 4, 1945, he returned to N.W. Bell Telephone Company and was transferred to South Dakota where he has spent most of his career as Supervisor on a number of assignments, primarily in the Beautiful Black Hills.

One assignment of special interest was being in charge of all Military Communications at Ellsworth AFB for six years, involving NIKE Sites, TITAN Sites, Fighter Squadrons, B-29 - B36 - and B52 Bombers, Tankers and Command Post. All most interesting to a former "fly boy".

Another milestone was participation in putting on the first live TV Broadcast from the United States to Europe Via TELST AR Satellites, featuring Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park.

He was married in January, 1947 to Dorothea Lash and has six sons - Dan, Steve, Tom, Mike, Gary and Bill. As of this writing has five sons married and five grandchildren - newest two twin girls - they are a close knit family all living in the Black Hills Area.

Ken kept a diary of sorts during his time with the 66th Squadron which might be of interest to others there during that period. He now lives in Deadwood, S.D. i

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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