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Van E Chandler


Van E. Chandler was born 5 March 1925 in Waxahachie, Texas. He became an Aviation Cadet in February 1943 and graduated as a pilot at Aloe Field, Texas, in January 1944. He transitioned to P-51 Mustangs in Florida then shipped to England. On 6 June 1944, he was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group, 336th Squadron, and entered combat during the invasion of France.
Van had two victories by Christmas and added two more on Christmas Day. His fifth victory came on New Year's Day 1945, making him an "Ace" at the tender age of 19. Flying a Mustang named "Wheezy", he baled out over Allied lines in Europe, but was uninjured.
After WW II, he remained in the Air Force and was sent to Korea in 1951, where he flew F-86 Sabres in the 51st fighter Group, 25th Fighter Squadron. There he scored three victories over MiG-15s in early 1952. Later, while engaged in the Vietnam conflict, he was promoted to Colonel and then, flying F-100 Super Sabres, he was named Deputy Commander for Operations of the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing.
Chandler retired in 1974, having scored nine kills in WW II, followed three in Korea. He earned the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters.


Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 336th Fighter Squadron

    336th Fighter Squadron

    The 336th Fighter Squadron was constituted by the War Department on 22 august 1942, and was activated at Bushey Hall, England, on 12 September. It had been designated as No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron, and was made up of American volunteers to the Royal Air...


  • 44-14388 'Wheezy'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. One-time personal aircraft of 1st Lt Van E. Chandler. ...

  • 43-24877 'Penrod' 'Wheezy'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 318FS, 325FG, 15AF USAAF.

Associated Place

  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...


Event Location Date
Born Waxahachie, TX, USA 5 March 1925
Lived in Ellis County, TX, USA 1942
Enlisted Dallas, TX, USA 17 February 1943
Based Debden 6 June 1944 – January 1945

Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.

End Tour Duty (ETD) England, UK January 1945

Ended Tour Duty (ETD).

Died Greeley, CO, USA 15 March 1998


Date Contributor Update
23 December 2017 14:23:48 Al_Skiff Changes to service number, role, awards, events and unit associations

Date Contributor Update
12 March 2015 19:31:45 apollo11 Changes to highest rank, role, biography, awards, events and place associations

Personal research & 'Eighty-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:26:21 AAM AAM ingest

'1000 Destroyed' by Capt. Grover C. Hall, Jr. / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list