H. Don Carlson, Jr.

Picture of H. Don Carlson H. DON CARLSON, JR., born Chicago, Illinois, August 8,1922. Moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1933 where he completed his formal education. His professional career began at Swett & Crawford, a leading general agency insurance company.

He enlisted as an aviation cadet in September, 1942. Attended 91st College Training Detachment at Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma; pre-flight school at San Antonio, Texas; primary at Sikeston, Missouri; basic at Strother Field, Winfield, Kansas (where he directed a variety show at graduation).

Pilot wings were received upon graduation at Aloe Army Air Field, Victoria, Texas, Class 44-F. After several hours in a P-40, his first flight in a P-47 was from Abilene Army Air Field, Abilene, Texas.

He was assigned to the famed 79th Fighter Group, 85th Fighter Squadron in the Medierranean Theater of Operations in Italy and Yugoslavia. This group was attached to the British Desert Air Force, in close support of the British Eighth Army under command of General Sir Bernard Montgomery or better mown as "Monty."

He flew 37 missions in the North Appennines and Po Valley campaigns, taking off from runways 1,500 feet short of safety margin for bomb laden P-47's. Missions consisted of low level ground support, liquidating enemy strong points, destroying bridges, air fields, railroads, tanks and artillery. At times facing intense anti- aircraft fire from batteries from mountain positions higher than our attacking altitude.

Upon return from one mission his crew chief noticed a hole in the plane's cowling, reaching inside he pulled out the head of a rooster - damn bird was flying too high!!! He was awarded air medal for participation in attack on military objectives at Castel San Pietro, Italy.

After VE Day, his group was transferred to Horsching Air Base on the outskirts of Linz, Austria, as Air Force occupation. Released from active duty in October 1945, he returned to Los Angeles, California, and the insurance firm of Swett & Crawford. He remained there until forming his own insurance agency and brokerage firm in the San Fernando Valley.

He is a life member of the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association, also member of 79th Fighter Group Assoc. He married a native Californian in 1946; her name is Millie and they have two married children, Wayne and Lori.

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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