Louis J. Pernicka

Picture of Lou Pernicka LOUIS J. PERNICKA, born December 9th, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois. He enlisted in the Army Aviation Cadet Program in August 1942. His training began at SAAC (San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center), and ended 4 1/2 years later at the same base as Squadron Commander of Base Maintenance Operations.

His state-side training in Fighter Aircraft was all in P-40's. He was assigned to the 57th Ftr. Grp. 66th Ftr. Squadron which was flying the P-47 "Thunderbolt". The 57th's prime objective was dive bombing and strafing - bridges, railroad yards, airfields, flak gun emplacements, convoys, close infantry support, etc.

After a check out flight of one hour and two landings, he flew his first combat mission. The objective was to divebomb a bridge and strafe the area. His P-47 was hit by flak on the initial run and severely jamming the flight controls. He was forced to bail-out over the Tyrrhenian Sea and was picked up by the British Air Sea Rescue Service, floating in a dinghy. His combat virginity having been lost under most difficult and wet circumstances.

During his next 80 missions he wiped out three more P-47's; chased an ME-262 but couldn't close within firing range; flew through high tension lines and brought back 1/4 mile of wire; downed an ME-109 (just the fuselage off of a rail flat car); in addition to accomplishing the objectives of the 57th.

Then on his 82nd mission his combat experiences came to an abrupt end. After leading a mission of 12 P-47's in divebombing a railroad bridge, he spotted a motor transport and began a series of strafing runs. "Lady Luck" turned her head for an instance and a 40 mm shell met him in the cockpit.

Besides tearing up his left shoulder by shattering a bone, breaking a rib and peppering his face, arms, and legs with fragments, it also caught that part which distinguishes man from woman.

The "Lady" again looked his way and he was able to belly-it-in on a friendly strip. After seven months of hospitilazation he returned to flying status.

He married the girl for which old "97" was named "Sweet Violet." They have three children, Gayle and twins Robert and Susan, and four grandchildren.

He received his B.S. in Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and did Graduate Study at Columbia University.

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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