Kenneth O. Chilstrom
KENNETH O. CHILSTROM,
COLONEL,(USAF, Ret.) My interest in flying
started with the building of rubber band
models which led to the first gasoline powered
model airplane on the west side of
Chicago. Anxious to get in aviation after high
school, I enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps
at Chanute Field, Rantoul, Illinois, on 15
After attending the aircraft
mechanics course and becoming an instructor,
the yearn to fly was realized when the Air
Corps began to expand from a force of only
22,000 officers and men.
Pilots wings and a
commission occurred in Class 42I at Lake
Charles, La., in October 1942 with the first
assignment in P-40's to guard the Capitol at
Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. In February
1943, flying new P-40's from the deck of the
carrier USS Ranger, the 58th Group landed
near Casablanca, North Africa.
were needed to replace losses in Tunisa so I
joined the 27th Fighter Bomber GP to fly
80 missions in the A-36 over Pantelleria,
Sicily and Italy, and received a DFC and Air
Medal with 8 clusters.
Returning to the
States provided an assignment to the Flight
Test Section which then permitted flying the
P-47 Jug. Flight testing during the years' 44
to '47, included flying the P-47B, C, D, N, M
models including the XP-47E (pressurized
cockpit) and the XP-47J (World's fastest
During this period many
trips were made to Republic Aircraft where
associations were made with Brabam, Ballin-
ger, Roth and other company test pilots.
Flying the P-4 7N model in performance tests
sometimes provided over 100 hour'a month
in flights lasting over 10 hours. The Jug with
its Pratt & Whitney R2800 engine was a
favorite among all of us for its reliability and
ruggedness. This in spite of two engine fail-
ures with one dead stick landing into Wright
Field. A highlight of my Jug flying was a
chance at setting a transcontinental record in
the P-4 7N on June 7, 1945. Major Johnston
and myself took from Mines Field (L.A.
Airport) with a flight plan of 5 hours, 15
minutes to New York. Unfortunately the
combination of bad weather, no communications,
and a serious oil leak forced our landing
at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, instead of
Test flying at Wright Field provided the
highlights of my flying days. After completing
test pilot training in Performance and
Stability & Control courses there were many
challenging assignments such as the project
pilot on the XP-86. WW II produced many X,
Y and production model aircraft and we had
them all at Wright Field.
Included were over
20 foreign models of German and Japanese
fighters and bombers. I flew them all from
rate of roll tests in the FW 190 to perform-
ance in the ME262, the Jap Zero, Hamp,
Other flying opportunities included the
first exchange program with the Navy and the
chance to get 50 landings in F8F2's aboard
the USS Leyte - straight deck/Essex Class.
This was followed by being a Technical Advisor
for Warner Bros. on "Chain Lightning"
where Humphrey Bogart was the chief test
pilot. Then an exchange test pilot tour with
the RAF permitted flying 25 different British aircraft in 2 months.
About this time the Korean engagement
started and I was assigned as Fighter Requirements officer in HQ FEAF for 2 1/2 years.
Hoping to return to Wright Field but reassigned
to a Pentagon tour where my fighter
association continued when I was the R&D
staff officer on the F-100, F-105, F-107,
and V/STOL aircraft. Then back to Dayton
after a promotion to Colonel and to be the
F-108 Project Officer. All efforts to keep the
program going ended when General LeMay
opted to save the XB-70 at the expense of the
F-108. Other challenges came with the start
of the YF /SR71 program and I could claim
I had a helping hand.
A reassignment to HQ AFSC for 3 years
prior to retirement in January 1964 after 25
years. The last chapter includes working with
G.E., Boeing/Vertol, Science Applications,and now with Pratt & Whitney, Government Products Division. A plug for P&W
is that I am glad to be with the maker of the
Jug R2800 and now the best engine in the
world - FI00 in F-15 and F-16. Come and
see us in Palm Beach, Florida - anytime.
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.
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.