These are some
of the stories my Dad used to tell me and also some from the local newspapers.
The Rangoon Drop Tanks | Shooting Down Bombers 1 & 2 & China Weekly | Getting Shot Down
Chinese Felon | Officer Wounded | Second Tour | Low on Gas
Rangoon Drop Tanks
The story of the Rangoon drop tanks is related in a letter to my grandmother (below) from Rev. Clement J. McKenna after my fathers death. The story I was told by my father was very similar except that the tanks were not filled with candy, they were filled with booze! Whether the good Reverend knew the 'real' story or not remains a mystery.
following is a transcription of the actual letter.
SCHOOL FOR BOYS
P.O. BOX M, CIVIC CENTER BRANCH - SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA 94903 - PHONE 479-8831
Clement J. McKenna
Rev. James P. Keane, M.A.
Rev. Aloysius B. Sullivan, MA
It was my privilege to know Eugene during one long journey by boat from Hampton Roads Virginia to Bombay. I would occasionally meet him in the years that followed.
In those days he was blessed with a keen sense of humor, and gave every evidence of a brilliant mind. He was fearless - perhaps reckless in his flying. I remember once when he 'flew the Hump' in a fighter plane, and it's wing tanks had holes cut in them. He had them filled with candy, coke & cigarettes for his friends in China. Once on board the ship, we, the Army, were awfully hungry. He disappeared, and managed to steal a ham from under the noses of the US Navy.
I am sorry I couldn't visit him in the more recent years. I am telling these tales about him, because they are nice memories for his children to have. If any of them should come west, please drop in to see me.
The news of his death saddened me. I will offer Mass for the repose of his soul tomorrow, and for you & the family as well.
Msgr. C.J. McKenna
News Article 1 of 2
The following is a transcription of the actual news article.
Two Jap Bombers
Click here to see the Flight Log entries for this skirmish!
Fliers Win Victory in China
14TH U.S. AIR FORCE, China July 25 (UP).- American and Chinese fliers
have dealt the Japanese Air Force in China one of its worst defeats
of the war by destroying or damaging 44 planes in day-long battles
against powerful enemy formations that successfully raided two advanced
to wipe out airfields from which the 14th U.S. Air Force has been
launching attacks on targets in central China and northern Indo-China,
the Japs sent about 150 bombers and fighters against the two bases,
but the greatly outnumbered American and Chinese airmen intercepted
the raiding formations.
(Announcing the great air victory, a communique from Lieut.-Gen. Stilwell's Headquarters disclosed Sunday that the bases attacked by the Japs were in Hunan Province, south of the Yangtze River. A broadcast by the Tokio radio identified them as the Hengyang and Lingling Airfields in Southern Hunan.)
Japs started their attacks early Friday morning, sending two
strong formations in simultaneous raids against the two bases.
Truman Jeffries, Winters, Tex., leading one of the flights of
intercepting Warhawks, scored one of the first American victories
of the day by shooting down a bomber.
Click here to see the Flight Log entries for this skirmish!
was shot down three times during his two tours in China, and luckily was able
to walk back each time. (Otherwise I wouldn't be here!) The story he told
the most though, was when he was shot down over Nanchang. This was because
it was the first time he was shot down, and he also injured
his left arm while crash landing his P40 on a Japanese airfield!! Once
safely on the ground, he quickly retrieved his .45 handgun to; "take
as many of them with me as I could!". He immediately discovered that
he could not cock the .45 because of his injured
arm. He had to hold the weapon between his knees, and then using his 'good'
arm, chamber a round into it. That was about the time that a Chinese fellow
yanked open his canopy and pulled him out. (Almost getting shot in the process
too!) The Chinese man ended up saving his life by getting him back to his
The Japanese were hot on his trail and he had to evade them, as well as keep his injured arm free from infection. (Neither one a simple task in the jungle!) It eventually took him about a week to get back to his unit. (See the telegraphs sent to the McGuire family below. Or click here)
going through the box of memorabilia to create this website, I came across
a newspaper article that had been saved. I cross-checked the location and
date in the flight log and it is almost exact! (Click logbook below) It is
off by one month and one day. Could this be a different flier or is the Chinese
guy off by a month? Or maybe the newspaper got it wrong? I have noticed several bad typo's and incorrect information while researching for this website. (Many of the clippings on this site are proof!) Anyway, the two stories have very strong similarities for it not
to be 'the one'!
I have no idea if he ever followed up on this. It came to me as a complete surprise! But knowing my dad, I'm pretty certain that he did something about it, It's just the way he was. Besides, why else would he have kept the clipping?
My Uncle Pete, (dad's brother), just confirmed the story above! He also added some missing pieces about the news article!! And now... here is... the REST of the story!
Gene was going to work on the subway and picked up a discarded N.Y. newspaper (not the Times, maybe the NY Post?) to pass the time and came across the article about the Chinese felon. He read the story and realized that he was the only one who was shot down in that area during that period. He said to himself, "That has to be ME!!"
So he sent a Cablegram to Chiang Kaishek, who was still in power at the time, and got the charges dropped against the accused.
Felon Seeks U.S. Flier Whom He Saved
SHANGHAI, May 6 (AP). - A Chinese convict appealed by letter to Maj.-Gen. Claire Chennault today for the name and address of an American pilot whom the convict says he rescued from Japanese in 1943.
Ling Chen-Min, serving a life term as a highway bandit, wants the former 14th Air Force flier to intercede for him by mail, as a character witness. His appeal to the Kiangsu Supreme Court is pending.
Ling's letter told this story:
On Aug. 15, 1943, three U.S. planes bombed enemy gun positions at Nanchang, Kiangsu province. One plane was hit, and crash-landed.
"One American pilot got out. His left arm was injured. In his right he held a white flag as he ran for cover. Two Japanese were chasing him. My friend, Chow Fen-Chi and I led the pilot hurriedly to safety, and later smuggled him to the 12th division, First Army group of guerrillas." Ling later was falsely accused as a bandit, he said, by a traitor.
Lieutanant McGuire, officially reported as wounded today, was listed by the Army as missing in the Asiatic area Oct. 16.
Lieutenant McGuire was credited last August with having shot down two Japanese bombers in an American and Chinese raid which bagged 44 enemy planes and inflicted one of the heaviest blows of the war on the foe.
The raid in which the Astoria lieutenant took part was in retaliation against a Nip effort to wipe out United States airfields at two advanced posts in Hunan province. Although greatly outnumbered, the American and Chinese fliers blasted the enemy to bits, and little damage was done to the American installations.
McGuire was commissioned following graduation from the Advanced Flying School at Lake Field, Proenix, Ariz.
Note: many errors appear in the above article, such as the date (Oct 16?), 'Lake Field' s/b Luke Field, and Proenix s/b Phoenix.
|WMUA7 44 GOVT=WMU WASHINGTON DC SEP 23 1943
MR JAMES J MCGUIRE= 1943 SEP 23 AM 8 33
2333 31ST STREET ASTORIA LONG ISLAND NY=
THE SECRETARY OF WAR DESIRES
ME TO EXPRESS HIS DEEP REGRET THAT YOUR SON FIRST LIEUTENANT EUGENE
MCGUIRE HAS BEEN REPORTED MISSING IN ACTION SINCE FOURTEEN SEPTEMBER
IN THE ASIATIC AREA IF FURTHER DETAILS OR OTHER INFORMATION ARE RECEIVED
YOU WILL BE PROMPTLY NOTIFIED=
|WMUA7 44 GOVT=WMU WASHINGTON DC OCT 2 1943=
MR JAMES J MCGUIRE= 1943 OCT 2 PM 12 54
2333 31ST STREET= ASTORIA LONG ISLAND NY=
REFERENCE MY TELEGRAM TWENTY TWO SEPTEMBER CORRECTED REPORT NOW RECEIVED
STATES YOUR SON FIRST LIEUTENANT EUGENE MCGUIRE WAS SLIGHTLY WOUNDED
IN ACTION ON FOURTEEN SEPTEMBER IN THE ASIATIC AREA AND NOT MISSING
AS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED I AM PLEASED TO INFORM YOU REPORT FURTHER STATES
HOSPITALIZATION NOT REQUIRED=
EASTERN CHINA - Veteran of one tour of duty with the 14th AAF "Flying
Tigers" during which he flew 47 combat missions, Captain Eugene
E. McGuire of 23-33 31st street, Astoria, today is credited with 16
more aerial flights on his second tour.
The following is an excerpt from "Sharks Over China" by Carl Molesworth. ISBN 0-02-881094-5
On March 10, three Mustang pilots were assigned to fly to a small island
off the coastal city of Foochow and strafe a cable station. Captain Ken George,
having recently returned from his crash in the Kiukiang area, led the flight
southeastward on the long haul toward Foochow. With him were Capt. Eugene
McGuire and Lt. Ed Burbank. Unbeknownst to them, a strong wind had blown
their Mustangs southward, far off course. This was first time that fighters
had ventured in this direction since the Formosa raid on the previous Thanksgiving,
so the pilots did not expect to recognize the territory beneath them.
George's flight reached the coast near Amoy, an area that looks similar to Foochow from the air, and found an island that matched the description given during their briefing. They strafed some buildings that looked like they might be the target, then headed westward along the coast and strafed some oil tanks. Finally, they circled over an airfield for awhile in hopes of stirring up some response, but the field appeared to be deserted, so they took up a course designed to send them back to Suichuan.
The Mustangs flew for a while but were unable to make radio contact with anyone. George's wing tanks had failed to jettison when he tried to drop them, forcing him to use a higher power setting to overcome the drag they created. Eventually George began to get low on gas. He belly-landed his plane near the town of Linhsien, well south of Suichuan, and suffered minor cuts on his face. Friendly Chinese quickly took him to safety. Captain George returned to the base later in the month.
When McGuire and Burbank began to run low on gas, they found a tiny glider field with a twelve-hundred-foot runway and put their
Mustangs down there. They were toasted that evening by the Chinese station personnel while gasoline and ammunition were being trucked south from the auxiliary field at Namyung. The next afternoon, the two pilots gunned their fighters down the short airstrip and headed north for the hour's flight home to Suichuan. During their debriefing by the 76th's intelligence officer, the two pilots agreed that a P-51A could remain in the air for seven hours if it was;
(a) equipped with twin fifty-gallon drop tanks,
(b) flown at settings of twenty-two inches to twenty-three inches of manifold pressure and 2050 revolutions per minute, and
(c) its fuel-air mixture was set on "auto lean."
They knew this was true, because they had done it.
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