Leonard J. Schallehn

Picture of Leonard Schallehn LEONARD J. SCHALLEHN, born and educated in Saratoga Springs, New York, on March 2, 1921. He joined the Army Air Corps in the fall of 1942, completed aerial gunnery training in December at which time he was assigned as a sergeant on a B-17.

In February, 1943, he was tapped for Cadet training, receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant in December, 1943. In January, 1944, he was sent to Stone, England (Stoke-on-Trent), after being rushed into action because of the high mortality rate of pilots in Europe, along with several other buddies.

When he told his commanding officer upon his arrival in England that he had no dive-bombing training, he was told, "Well, you will get some practice over here, only someone will be shooting back at you."

In March, he was assigned to a group in the Ninth Air Force near the Isle of Wight, at Christchurch. On D-Day, Schallehn began his 15th mission, and remembers most, on that day, "the dead American guys floating in the water looked like flies on flypaper."

On June 16, 1944, flying his 46th sortie, Schallehn was shot down. He took off from Christchurch at 4 P.M. to escort A-26's over Mayenne, France. Flying at 14,000 feet over the target area, he suddenly felt the concussion as the flak struck his engine. His flight leader screamed in the headset for him to bailout. After several unsuccessful attempts, he put the plane into a dive, pulled back on the stick and rolled it . . . coming "out like a cork." He landed in a cornfield somewhere between Laval and Mayenne. It was 5 p.m.

With other fighters circling over him during his descent, he landed successfully and ran into the woods. Three days and thirty miles later, he reached a collective farm between Laval and Domfront. The French Resistance leader in that area of Normandy was called. He dubbed Schallehn as a deaf and dumb undertaker. He had difficulty proving he wasn't a German in disguise because he had lost his dog tags. An R.A.F. pilot from Canada saved his life as Schallehn successfully answered three questions - namely, who won the World Series, what is a chocolate sundae and how far is it from Saratoga Springs to Montreal.

He moved from farm to farm in Domfront, during July. The French Resistance leader, Andre Rougeyron, who was also mayor of Domfront, was suddenly arrested by the Gestapo within Schallehn's vision.

Schallehn then took off to LaBaroche, seven miles south. Patton's Third Army rescued him from an abandoned implement shop where underground forces had stored their weapons.

It was the end of August - sixty-five days since Schallehn parachuted, Andre escaped from Buchenwald Concentration camp. Rougeyron and Schallehn embraced at a reunion in 1960 - together, again, in Domfront.

Released from duty in January, 1946, he joined the New York Telephone Company and continues to work out of their headquarters in Saratoga Springs. In July of that year he married Eunice Schallehn, of nearby Ballston Spa, and they later had two daughters - Cynthia and Sandra.

Len and Eunice re-visited Christchurch while participating in the Association's reunion in London, 1974.

Along with his family, including a little Grandchild, Kelly Ann, golfing and skiing continue to be his main interests today.

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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