Capt. John R. White

The following information was submitted by Sandy White Grear (daughter)

Captain John R. White.  On February 8, 1943 John R. White entered the United States Army Air Corps.  John White received his pre-flight training diploma from Lodwick School of Aeronautics, 60th Army Air Forces Flying Detachment, Lakeland Florida under the supervision of the Southeast Army Air Forces Training Center.  He then did his Advance Training at Napier Field, Dothan, Alabama. After completing flight and gunnery training, he received his wings and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on November 3, 1943. During his time in service he was promoted twice, reaching the rank of Captain.  After serving briefly at Waterboro, SC, John R. White went overseas with the 494th Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Group in March of 1944 as a pilot of P47 Thunderbolt aircraft in the 9th Air Force, European Theater.  As a member of the 494th Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Group, he flew 88 combat missions during which he logged a total of 645 flying hours, of which 180 were in combat, with 4 squadron leads.  He was also a flight commander for 4 months.  He participated in combat missions over Paris, Normandy, Ardennes, Aachen and Julich.  Captain White and his unit specialized in dive bombing, strafing, close air ground support, engaging enemy strong points, bridges, tanks, rail, communications, and other targets of opportunity.  The 494th flew escort and dive-bombing missions to help prepare for the invasion of Normandy.  On D-Day, June 6, 1944 the squadron bombed bridges and gun positions, attacked rail lines and trains, motor transports, bridges, fuel dumps, and gun positions the rest of the Normandy campaign. 

The 494th Fighter Squadron moved with the 48th Fighter Group to Strip 4 near Longueville, Normandy in June of 1944.  They helped Allied forces break through the German lines at St Lo in July of 1944, and supported the Allied drive across France in August and September, and assisted the airborne attack on Holland in September.

 Following the advance of allied troops, the 494th moved to Airstrip A-12, Paris early in September 1944 and to Airstrip A-74, Cambrai, France later that same month.  Another move took them to Airstrip A-92, Sint-Truiden (St Trond), Belgium early Oct 1944.

While based at Sint-Truiden, Captain White participated in a mission against a ground target in Germany on October 8, 1944.  For his actions that day he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Captain White's Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads: "For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight against the enemy on 8 October 1944. Upon being notified that friendly advance troops were being subjected to heavy enemy fire outside a German town, Lt. White distinguished himself by leading his flight with courage, skill, and a calm disregard for personal danger through a hail of enemy fire to drop his bombs in the center of the town. As a result of this action the town and an ammunition dump located therein were completely destroyed, and the enemy artillery silenced to such an extent that ground forces were able to advance and take positions without loss. The brilliant and forceful leadership exhibited by Lt. White reflects great credit to himself and was in keeping with the finest traditions of the Army Air Forces."

The 48th Fighter Group received the Distinguished Unit Citation for action on December 6, 1944 which read: when, facing intense enemy fire while flying below heavy overcast, the group struck buildings, entrenchments, and troop concentrations to assist the advance of ground forces against an enemy stronghold north of Julich, Germany.  Later in the month of December Captain White's unit supported ground operations during the Battle of the Bulge and received a third citation from the Belgian government-in-exile for relentless assaults against the enemy during that battle. The unit continued tactical air operations from bases on the Continent, supporting ground forces until the end of the war.

Regarding Capt. White's efforts during the Battle of the Bulge, a family friend had this recollection:

"I remember talking to him [John White] about his flying. During the Battle of the Bulge there was heavy overcast. My recollection is that he and another pilot did take off - and [I believe] it was against orders. Again, my recollection was that they bombed some things and when they got back to base someone wanted to put [Captain White] in for a Silver Star decoration, but it was shot down because he went up against orders."  

The 48th Fighter group moved to Airstrip Y-54 at Kelz, Germany late in March of 1945, to Airstrip R-12, Kassel, Germany late in April 1945 and to Airstrip R-10, Illesheim, Germany the same month. During this time combat missions were flown, as well as patrol, escort, weather reconnaissance, and leaflet missions. On one occasion the 48th Fighter Group carried blood plasma that was dropped in belly tanks to ground troops. The men of the 48th Fighter Group returned to the United States during August and September 1945. The 48th Fighter group was inactivated 7 Nov 1945.

Captain White received numerous decorations besides the Distinguished Flying Cross.  He was a recipient of the Air Medal with 15 Oak Leaf Clusters, European Theatre Ribbon with 7 Battle Stars, and Distinguished Unit Citation. His campaign stars were for the Normandy Campaign, the Northern France Campaign, Campaign Rhineland, and the Germany Campaign. Captain White was also a Communications Liaison Officer for 3 months.

One week after his unit was inactivated, John R. White received his separation from service, on November 14, 1945.  He then returned to Camden, NJ and assumed responsibility for running the family business, Stanley Heat & Fuel Company, in Camden with his brother Leonard Wojtkowiak.  During the years 1952-53, John built his family home in Westmont, NJ.  John White died unexpectedly at home in Westmont on February 8, 1968, exactly 25 years to the day from when he entered cadet flying school. Only 47 at the time of his passing, he was survived by his wife, Rita, and three children. Captain White is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery in the Chews Landing section of Gloucester Township, NJ.   Submitted by:  Sandy White Grear (daughter)

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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