James Troy Johnson
JAMES TROY JOHNSON, "OLD
J.T." Wilmington, N.C., born 20 March
1920, married Mattie Belle Bridges of Georgia 22 Dec. 1945 (two full grown sons of which they are very proud), retired from
military service October 1968.
After high school graduation, 1937,
worked for A.C.L. Railroad 4 1/2 years (one
year in Orlando, Fla.). There were nearly
two years National Guard duty, flivver plane
flying via 1940 CPT program and Aviation
Cadet class 42-F.
July 1942, 2nd Lt.J.T. was assigned to the
newly formed 316th Ftr Sqdn (324th
Group) to train in P40's dogfighting the]
Dec. 1942, the Sqdn air echelon was C-54
"airlifted" to the Gold Coast of Africa. J.T.
and most of the pilots twice ferried P-40's
across Africa to Cairo, Egypt.
March 1943, first combat west of Tripoli,
Libya (Mareth Line); close support for the
British Eighth Army. 165 missions later
(Tunisia, Sicily, Italy), and after a short trip
Stateside, Capt. J. T. was appointed Cmdr
316th (Hell's Belles) Sqdn - early Nov.
1944, Dole-Tavaux, France.
First duty was to check out in a new P-47,
#70. The cockpit was so quiet, compared to
a P-40, it was unnerving.
35 Jug missions to VE-Day, of the same
dive-bombing, strafing, close support and
train busting variety, were no less dangerous,
but the Jug was a better aircraft for the job- and tough!
Example: Once (Eastern France) upon
dropping through broken clouds to look for
reported ME-I09's, J.T. found himself eyeball to eyeball with heavy fire from the roof and parapet slots of a medieval castle on a
hilltop. In self-defense, with all eight guns
firing he hosed the castle roof down to
chimney level. Then proverbial hell broke
loose - a sudden explosion, partial power
loss, and an unprogrammed quarter-roll to
The left wing ammo door flew open. Its
outboard brace broke, or full right trim, hard
right rudder, and full strength right aileron
would not have brought that bird back up out
of the trees. Back at base, in addition to the
wing damage, it was discovered that the turbo
had taken a direct hit. Fortunately, J.T. had
been unaware of the structural fire damage
and too busy to hear his buddies yelling,
Post-war duty assignments included AMC
AFLC (jet engine overhaul business), Cmd
and Staff School, AFIT (Univ. of Ill. Acctg
and Mgmt, and Univ. of Md. BS Mil. Sci.),
USAF Staff (field mtn.), BMD (DSC/M,
Atlas, Titan, and early Minuteman site activation logistics.)
A career highlight was the F-105 System
Manager job 1965-67 (AFLC/SMAMA) ,
while the Thunderchief was doing most of the
tough work in North Vietnam. After the high
pressure development, test, and A/C modification for RHA Wand Wild Weasel, J. T. was honored by charter membership #4 in the
Wild Weasel Society.
Service awards include: Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, and 3 Purple Hearts.
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.