Kemal Saied

Picture of Kemal Saied KEMAL SAIED, born November 22,1919, in Healdton, Oklahoma. Attended Classen High School, Oklahoma City; and University of Oklahoma. Enlisted in the Army Air Corps in August, 1941. After attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant in 1942, he applied for Aviation Cadet training and graduated with Class 43-J at Luke Field, Arizona.

Saied was sent to flight instructor's school at Randolph Field, Texas, then to Minter Field, California, to instruct in Basic Training. After five months instructing in BT-13s he requested combat duty in P-47s and was assigned to the 508th Fighter Squadron of the 404th Fighter Group at St. Trond, Belgium.

The 404th FG's principal assignments were support for the ground forces in Belgium and Germany, distinguishing itself with the Presidential Unit Citation, and being honored by being awarded the Belgique Fouregerre by the Belgian government. Saied had accumulated 62 missions when the hostilities ceased in Europe, during which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart and Air Medal with seven clusters.

Number 7 J-U, my P-47D, proved more than once that it was a tough bird. It was such an occasion during the Battle of the Bulge that I renewed my love for Number 7 J-U. Capt. Elton B. Long was leading the 508th Fighter Squadron of the 404th Fighter Group and I was flying element leader for his flight. The primary target that day was a tower setting atop a dam which held back the waters of a reservoir deep in Germany. The tower was being used as an observation post and was apparently very important to the Allies.

When we arrived at our destination we could see barrage balloons tethered by their steel cables over the target just daring us to go beneath them. We followed the leader to drop our bombs on the target being careful not to get lower than the balloons. After one bomb run and three strafing passes, the ack-ack was so light that we fell into game-playing to see if we could deflate some balloons. They were apparently self-sealing and filled with non-explosive gas, but we were having fun.

Elton could see that precious fuel was being wasted on this nonsense, so he called his squadron to rendezvous and head back to the barn. With each pass I made, I felt confident that the next one would be the one which would set the world on fire. I didn't want to believe what I already knew: that the balloons were filled with a non-inflammable gas and would not blow up. When Elton called for a rendezvous I called back, "Elton, let me make one last pass! I think I can get one!"

While the squadron was rendezvousing I was circling for my one last pass and was on my run when my plane suddenly shuddered and started into a snap roll, and I had to fight to keep it from spiraling into the ground. Looking at the left wing I found that it had got a direct hit underneath, knocking open the ammunition door which was located on the top of the wing and hinged from the back. The wind finished ripping it all the way off, leaving a gaping hole with three belts of fifty caliber shells trailing out of it.

Luckily, my control cables were not severed, but the airspeed and rate-of-climb indicators were knocked out. After trimming the plane as much as I could I managed to limp back on my wing man's wing.

All's well that ends well, they say, but many is the time since that day that I hear my own words ringing in my ears, "Let me make one last pass!" It could have been.

My love affair with the P-47 began long before this date but the events of this day confirmed my belief that the P-47 Thunderbolt, the "Jug," is the toughest airplane built

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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