Arthur W Heiden


Object Number - UPL 27805 - 1Lt Art Heiden 20th FG

Flight Leader 79th FS 20th FG
1/2 kill air and 1/2 kill ground
Crew chief TSgt Max Pyles


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Units served with


  • Aircraft Type: P-38 Lightning
  • Nicknames: Strictly Stella's Baby Lucky Lady
  • Unit: 20th Fighter Group 370th Fighter Group 402nd Fighter Squadron 79th Fighter Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-38 Lightning
  • Unit: 20th Fighter Group 79th Fighter Squadron



Event Location Date Description


Burton, Nebraska 22 February 1923


Omaha, NE, USA 26 May 1942


20th FG Combat Tour

King's Cliffe, Peterborough, Northamptonshire PE8, UK Transition: P-38, Starting in advanced Flying School, Willie Air Patch, the only P-38 school, after training in AT-9's and gunnery in AT-6's we received 20 hours in the RP-322* with the last flight before graduation was a rat-race up and way down in Grand Canyon. Before the first flight we received extensive ground school, a piggyback ride, and a blindfold check. On the big day, 120-degrees, sweating like a drowned dog, we cranked up, with our legs shaking uncontrollably from trying to hold that thing back with brakes, we rushed out to the runway before engine temps went out of sight past the red, shoved the throttles up to what ever the 91 octane fuel would allow, got the boot in the a**, and with great relief found ourselves in the air. Succeeding flights were formation flying and practicing engine shut downs and prop feathering. After graduation, at Muroc Dry Lake, Salinas, and North Island by San Diego in RTU we were given extensive ground school, Work on the line and in maintenance hanger learning all we could about systems in the hands-on mode, and flight training the other half of the day--about 100 hours. In England, another month of ground school and several orientation flights at Goxhill. We always, made nuisances of ourselves badgering maintenance for all the test-hops, slow times for all the flying time we could beg, borrow or steal. P-51 Transition: We got the TM's** and especially the Flight 01, tried to memorize it, sat in the airplane until we were able to give each other blindfold checks, then cranked up and went flying. We were to get 5 hours flying time before combat. The P-51 was a new airplane and we were eager to fly it and were happy with it. It was so easy and comfortable to fly. The P-38 had kept us on our toes and constantly busy --far more critical to fly. You never could relax with it. We were disappointed with the 51's rate of climb and concerned with the reverse stick***, if fuel was in the fuselage tank, the rash of rough engines from fouled plugs, and cracked heads which dumped the coolant. With the 38 you could be at altitude before landfall over the continent, but with the 51 you still had a lot of climbing yet to do. The 38 was an interceptor and with both engines, you always knew you could outclimb any other airplane, and that's what wins dogfights. When you are in a dogfight below tree tops, it was way more comfortable in a 38, with its power and stall characteristics and, for that matter at any altitude.


Date17 Mar 2022 21:45:50
ChangesChanges to role

corrected removed mos

Date11 Feb 2022 21:08:17
ChangesChanges to role

Removed extra info in the "Role/job" field.

Date8 May 2017 06:02:27
ChangesChanges to service number, role, biography, awards, place associations and media associations

JCook Photo Collection and Archives

Date2 Jun 2015 03:22:28
ChangesChanges to awards and events

Chris Brassfield

Date27 Sep 2014 18:04:12
ChangesAAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / King's Cliffe Memorial Edition

Arthur W Heiden: Gallery (2 items)