A mock briefing of 4th Fighter Group pilots at Debden. Pilots include (order unknown): Lt. Ralph Hofer, Capt. William Smith, Lt. Warren Johnson, Lt. Ralph Saunders, Lt. Howard Moulton, Lt. Donald Patchen, Capt. Reuben Simon, Lt. Donald Emerson, Lt. Leonard Pierce, Lt. Robert Church, Capt. Alfred Markel, Lt. David Howe, Capt. Bud Care, Lt. Richard Reed, Lt. Robert Kenyon, Capt. David Van Epps, Lt. Robert Carr, Lt. William Rowles, Lt. Allen Bunte, Maj. James Goodson, Lt. Lloyd Henry, Lt. Shelton Monroe, Capt. Robert Hobert, Capt. Mike Sobanski, Capt. Nicholas Megura, Capt. Duane Beeson, Capt. Don Gentile, and Lt. Col. Jim Clark, Jr. (map in hand).
Note that this particular images cuts off a little of boths sides so a few pilots mentioned are not actully in the picture.
David W Howe was born on 6 February 1919 at East Hickory, Pennsylvania. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 in Toronto, Canada, and earned his wings as a Sergeant Pilot on 8 October 1942.
He transferred to the USAAF on 3 June 1943, and was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group, 334th Squadron, in September.
Flying a P-47 Thunderbolt, he downed his first enemy aircraft, an Fw-190, in February 1944. In March, flying a P-51 Mustang, he downed two more Luftwaffe planes, and on 19 May, with additional victories he became an "Ace". He had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters.
In April 1945, as a Captain, he returned to the States. He was the first pilot in the 8th Fighter Command to complete two combat tours without an abort, a total of 502 combat hours.
He left the service in August 1945 having 8.5 enemy aircraft to his credit.
He obtained a civilian commercial pilot rating and later became a test pilot with Bell Aircraft. He flew eight types of jets, including two VTOL Vertical Takeoff and Landing) types. He was the first pilot of the X-14, and also piloted the hydro-skimmer on Lake Erie.
He retired in 1981 and died of a massive stroke in May 1995.He was a candidate in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1992 he was inducted in the Niagara Falls Aviation Hall of Fame.
Units served with
The 334th Fighter Squadron was the successor to No. 71 Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force when the 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. They were based at Debden Field, Essex. The "Fighting Eagles" as they were called, flew...
This aircraft was assigned to the 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group in May 1944 it was the one-time personal aircraft of 1st Lt Robert Robert Hills of the 334th Fighter Squadron. It was eventually withdrawn from use three months later after...
Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.
Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Lost, Mech failure 6-Feb-45 crashed into North Sea - F/O William D Bates baled out KIA.
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...
||East Hickory, Pennsylvania
||6 February 1919
||Erie, PA, USA
Died of a massive stroke.