Herschel Harper Green

 A pilot of the 325th Fighter Group, 15th Air Force with his P-51 Mustang. media-394889.jpg FRE 7558 A pilot [ Col Herky Green ] of the 325th Fighter Group, 15th Air Force with his P-51 Mustang. Herschel "Herky" Green (Hickory, Kentucky, July 3, 1920 - Torrance, California, August 16, 2006) was a WW II flying ace in the USAAF. Green was the leading ace of the 15th Air Force downing 18 enemy aircraft and destroying 10 more on the ground. He flew in 1943 and 1944 in the North Africa and Italian campaigns with the 325th Fighter Group. By the end of 1944, he had flown 100 missions and received the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 25 Oak Leaf Clusters, Silver Star and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. Roger Freeman Collection

Object Number - FRE 7558 - A pilot [ Col Herky Green ] of the 325th Fighter Group, 15th Air Force with his P-51 Mustang. Herschel "Herky" Green (Hickory, Kentucky, July 3, 1920...

18 Victory Ace - 2nd highest score in the 15th AF. Leading ace of the 325th FG

Col. Herschel H. Green was born on July 3, 1920, in Mayfield, Kentucky. He was introduced to flying at the young age of five after receiving a ride in a barnstormerÍs bi-plane. While attending Vanderbilt University, he enrolled in the Civilian Pilots Training Program, and earned his private pilot license in 1940. In September, 1941, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Force as an aviation cadet, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant at Foster Field, Texas. He was assigned to the 57th Fighter Group at BostonÍs Bradley Field, training in the P-40 (specifications). In September, 1942, he was transferred to the 317th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group, later nicknamed the ñCheckertail Clan, at Hillsgrove, Rhode Island. The 325th FG was moved from Rhode Island to Langley Field, Virginia, in January, 1943, where the Group began training for Navy aircraft carrier takeoffs in the P-40. On January 8, 1943, the 325th FG set sail for North Africa aboard the USS Ranger (CV-4), and after taking off from the carrier, arrived at Cazes Aerodrome in Casablanca on January 19, 1943. Herschel Green flew his first combat mission on May 19, 1943, off the Italian coast, and shot down a BF-109. He was flying P-40 number 13, which was badly damaged, and the plane was later hauled away for scrap and spare parts. He was assigned to P-40 number 11, a number he kept and transferred to his P-47 (specifications) and P-51 (specifications). A few days after his first combat mission on May 19, he was promoted to Captain. While flying the P-40, he shot down a total of three enemy aircraft.

400 Rounds and Counting

In September, 1943, Captain Green transitioned to the P-47 Thunderbolt, and downed ten enemy fighters, including six on January 30, 1944. He was flying a P-47 that was assigned to Captain Bunn Hearn, Jr., as his P-47 number 11 was down for maintenance. Unaware that Captain HearnÍs P-47 was carrying 800 rounds of ammunition per gun instead of the standard 400 rounds the Group used, Captain Green broke off his attack after he began to see tracers from the guns, which normally signaled that each machine gun had 50 rounds remaining. Had he continued to fight with the remaining 3,200 plus rounds in the guns, his total enemy aircraft destroyed on the mission could have been much higher. On March 25, 1944, he became the Commanding Officer of the 317th Fighter Squadron, and in May, 1944, his squadron transitioned from the P-47 Thunderbolt to the P-51 Mustang. While flying the P-51, he shot down five enemy aircraft, and became an Ace in both the P-47 and P-51.

100 Missions

When he left the 325th FG, he was assigned to the 15th Air Force Headquarters as a Lt. Colonel, and he was the leading Ace in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operation, having flown 100 combat missions, and destroying eighteen enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat, plus ten more on the ground. After the war, he was the Deputy Commander of the 4th Fighter Group, flying the new Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star. After only eight years in the service, he was promoted to Colonel at the young age of 30. He retired from the United States Air Force on April 1, 1964, and went to work for Hughes Aircraft Company, until he retired in 1982. In 1996, he wrote his autobiographical book, Herky, the Memoirs of a Checkertail Ace. For his distinguished service to his country, Colonel Green received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air medal with 25 oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.

Air to Air Victories

05/19/1943 – one ME-109 – Flying the P-40

05/28/1943 – two ME-109s – Flying the P-40

01/30/1944 – four JU-52, one MA-202, one DO-217 – Flying the P-47

03/11/1944 – one ME-109 – Flying the P-47

03/18/1944 – one ME-109 – Flying the P-47

03/29/1944 – one FW-190 – Flying the P-47

04/07/1944 – one ME-110 – Flying the P-47

06/13/1944 – one MA-202 – Flying the P-51

06/23/1944 – one ME-109 – Flying the P-51

07/09/1944 – one ME-109 – Flying the P-51

07/14/1944 – one ME-109 – Flying the P-51

08/23/1944 – one FW-190 – Flying the P-51


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Units served with


  • Aircraft Type: P-40 Warhawk
  • Unit: 325th Fighter Group 317th Fighter Squadron
Colonel Herschel H. Green, of the 317th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group, 306th Fighter Wing, 15th Air Force stands by the cockpit of his P-51B Mustang. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'P-51B, Col. H.H. Green. J.C.'
  • Aircraft Type: P-51 Mustang
  • Unit: 325th Fighter Group 317th Fighter Squadron


Event Location Date Description


Hickory, KY 42051, USA 3 July 1920


Fort Knox, KY, USA 29 September 1941 enlisted as an Aviation Cadet


Shot down six e/a in one mission

33031 Villaorba UD, Italy 30 January 1944 "Immediately after reaching the target area we began to encounter isolated enemy aircraft and several fights were started. I peeled off with a section of four and went down to attack a bunch of transports we could see approaching at an altitude of about 1000 feet. There were 11 JU-52's and they were stung out in a loose trail formation. We came out of the sun at high speed and went right down the line. I got four in one pass and three other pilots (Novotny, Dean and Paulk) destroyed the remaining seven." - Herschel Green Green also got a Macchi C.202 at treetop level and a Do217 at about 5000 feet.


Named Commanding Officer of the 317th FS

71010 Lesina FG, Italy 25 March 1944


Torrance, CA, USA 16 August 2006


Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA 20 August 2006 Green Hills Memorial Park Rancho Palos Verdes Los Angeles County California, USA


Assigned to the 325th FG

Hillsgrove, RI 02886, USA
Mayfield, KY 42066, USA
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA

Herschel Harper Green: Gallery (3 items)