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66th Fighter Squadron Grouping!


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Hey all,

 

My interest in the 66th Fighter Squadron dates back to the mid-1990s when I was doing living history events at the New England Air Museum. The 57th Fighter Group exhibit there is fantastic and their capstone artifact is a P-47D-25 in 65th FS markings. The 57th trained at Bradley Airport before heading overseas in 1942 aboard the USS Ranger. 72 of their P-40F Warhawks flew from the Ranger's deck in July 1942, beginning a three-year stint in combat that ranged across North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

 

Unknowingly, I got my first 66th grouping from a forum member last year and started doing some research into Joe Davis Bell. After turning over just about every stone I could find, I figured out that Bell was the 71st of 72 off of the USS Ranger, had shot down an Me109 on 31 October 1942 and was himself shot down and captured on 18 November 42. I've now gotten in contact with three pilots who flew with Bell and have gotten some great information on him.

 

Flash forward to a couple weeks ago. A grouping pops up on ebay named to one of the Enlisted soldiers from the 66th Fighter Squadron; Corporal Dominic Mangiardo. Included in the grouping was "Calling Jackpot", the 66th's official history, a program for the 57th FG's V-E Day festivities, Corporal Mangiardo's certificate of service from the State of Massachusetts, one of Mangiardo's dogtags (NOK address), period copies of all four unit citations that the 57th FG earned and finally, over 400 photos taken during Cpl. Mangiardo's time with the unit. These date from between July 1942 and V-E day and include some spectacular and really rare photos.

 

So, needless to say, I put a ridiculous bid in on it and it ended up going for a lot less than I thought. It arrived the other day and I've just finished going through everything and scanning all of the photos. There are some spectacular shots and possibly even a shot of Joe Bell!

 

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IMG_0737.jpg

 

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IMG_0736.jpg

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Looking for ETO/MTO P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Curator of Arms & Armor at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

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Here are the unit citations:

 

66thFS173.jpg

66thFS174.jpg

 

This second one was awarded for the "Palm Sunday Massacre", where the 57th FG and elements of the 325th FG intercepted a massive formation of Axis aircraft and in ten minutes managed to shoot down or damage 74 of them. More here: http://www.57thfightergroup.org/history/go...hoot/index.html

 

66thFS175.jpg

66thFS176.jpg

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Looking for ETO/MTO P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Curator of Arms & Armor at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2009.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2010.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2011.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2012.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2013.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2014.gif

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Here are the unit citations:

 

66thFS173.jpg

66thFS174.jpg

 

This second one was awarded for the "Palm Sunday Massacre", where the 57th FG and elements of the 325th FG intercepted a massive formation of Axis aircraft and in ten minutes managed to shoot down or damage 74 of them. More here: http://www.57thfightergroup.org/history/go...hoot/index.html

 

66thFS175.jpg

66thFS176.jpg

 

Jon

 

I am hurt. :crying:

 

It was elements of the 324th FG (not the Checkertails) that partook in the Palm Sunday Massacre. Specifically it was the 314th Fighter Squadron.

 

Our guys took down their fair share of the German planes and lost 6 of our own as well.

 

D

danshanower.jpg

R.I.P. Commander Dan Shanower, KIA 9/11/01

"Freedom Isn't Free" US Naval Institute, Proceedings, 1997

 

 

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Jon

 

I am hurt. :crying:

 

It was elements of the 324th FG (not the Checkertails) that partook in the Palm Sunday Massacre. Specifically it was the 314th Fighter Squadron.

 

Our guys took down their fair share of the German planes and lost 6 of our own as well.

 

D

 

Doug,

 

Ok... I feel like a bit of a moron.... I was looking right at refs that said 324th and for some reason I was thinking 325th... oops!

 

I've actually got some great photos from what very well may be that day!

 

Jon

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Looking for ETO/MTO P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Curator of Arms & Armor at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2009.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2010.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2011.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2012.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2013.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2014.gif

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Doug,

 

Ok... I feel like a bit of a moron.... I was looking right at refs that said 324th and for some reason I was thinking 325th... oops!

 

I've actually got some great photos from what very well may be that day!

 

Jon

 

Jon,

 

I know, just tweaking you a bit! :lol:

 

If you copies of photos from that day, keep your eyes open for any 314th P-40's for me.

 

D

danshanower.jpg

R.I.P. Commander Dan Shanower, KIA 9/11/01

"Freedom Isn't Free" US Naval Institute, Proceedings, 1997

 

 

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Doug,

 

No 314th birds, but a couple 316th, so maybe not that day.

 

66thFS116.jpg

 

Jon

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Looking for ETO/MTO P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Curator of Arms & Armor at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2009.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2010.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2011.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2012.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2013.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2014.gif

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Doug,

 

No 314th birds, but a couple 316th, so maybe not that day.

 

66thFS116.jpg

 

Jon

 

Very interesting picture Jon. The 316th flew almost 900 sorties with the 79th group, but I have no record of them flying with the 57th and that is clearly a 57th bird 4th in line. Any idea of where this picture is from? Is it Africa? or Sicily?

danshanower.jpg

R.I.P. Commander Dan Shanower, KIA 9/11/01

"Freedom Isn't Free" US Naval Institute, Proceedings, 1997

 

 

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Very interesting picture Jon. The 316th flew almost 900 sorties with the 79th group, but I have no record of them flying with the 57th and that is clearly a 57th bird 4th in line. Any idea of where this picture is from? Is it Africa? or Sicily?

 

 

Doug,

 

Since they've got freshly painted blue surrounds on the stars & bars, I wouldn't put this any later than September 1943, so this could be either Sicily or Italy.

My thought is Italy, but I'm not 100% sure.

 

Jon

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Looking for ETO/MTO P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Curator of Arms & Armor at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2009.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2010.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2011.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2012.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2013.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2014.gif

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Ok, so the only time the two groups were stationed at the same base were March of 44 when both groups were at Cercola (the 324th was in Tunisia until Oct 43 when it moved to Cercola). I know the 324th was still in P-40's then, not sure about the 57th.

danshanower.jpg

R.I.P. Commander Dan Shanower, KIA 9/11/01

"Freedom Isn't Free" US Naval Institute, Proceedings, 1997

 

 

donation2008.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2012.gif

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Ok, so the only time the two groups were stationed at the same base were March of 44 when both groups were at Cercola (the 324th was in Tunisia until Oct 43 when it moved to Cercola). I know the 324th was still in P-40's then, not sure about the 57th.

 

It'd have to have been earlier than that. The 57th switched over to the P-47 in January 44. Since the order to switch from the red to blue surround on the national insignia was issued on 14 August 1943, we may be looking at Italy in October 1943. It most likely took a while for the order to filter down to frontline units.

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Looking for ETO/MTO P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Curator of Arms & Armor at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2009.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2010.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2011.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2012.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2013.gifhttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/usmfribbons/donation2014.gif

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