1 April 1944 - A visit by the 'brass' to Debden was capped by this dinner featuring a host of famous faces.
Lt. Col. Oscar Coen (left, facing camera), Maj. Gen. William Kepner, Mr. Banks (standing), Lt. Col. Jim Clark, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Col. Don Blakeslee, Gen. Carl Spaatz, Capt. Don Gentile, Brig. Gen. Jesse Auton, Capt. Joe Lang, Col. Fallows (left, nearest camera), Brig. Gen. Curtis, Maj. Jim Goodson, Lt. Gen. Doolittle, Capt. Bob Johnson, Commander Harry Butcher, Capt. Alfred Markel, and Lt. William Rowles.
On the far row in the centre is Supreme Allied Commander Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower, and to his left is Col Don Blakeslee, Lt Gen Carl Spaatz, commander of US Strategic Air Forces, and Capt Don Gentile. Second from left in the back row is Maj Gen William Kepner, head of VII Fighter Command. Sitting opposite Gen Eisenhower is Brig Gen Jesse Auton, 65th Fighter Wing CO, and to his left is Maj James Godson and, turning, with his back to the camera, Mag Gen James Doolittle, commander of the Eighth Air Force.
Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter...
Military | Brigadier General | Commanding General
Deployed to ETO with 65th Fighter Wing, 8AF USAAF. 12 combat missions. Killed in a plane crash at Offutt AFB, Omaha, 20-Mar-52, while returning on a flight from California.
Military | Colonel | Fighter pilot, Commanding Officer
Don Blakeslee was born on 11 September 1917 in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. As a boy, he became captivated with planes while watching the Cleveland National Air Races held only 30 miles away from his home at 529 7th St, Fairport Harbor, Ohio. In 1938,...
Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot; Deputy Commanding Officer
Initially assigned to the 71st Eagle Squadron in June 1942. With the founding of the 4th Fighter Group that September, he was assigned to the 334th Squadron, where he eventually became its Commanding Officer.
Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot-1055 Squadron Commander
Oscar Coen was born in Wallum, North Dakota on 11 May 1917. He spent his boyhood on a Wisconsin dairy farm. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a bachelor of science degree.
Military | General | Commanding General
Became Commanding General of 12th AF September 1942; Commanding General of Northwest African Strategic Air Force March 1943; assumed command of 15th AF November 1943; Commanding General of 8th Air Force 6 January 1944 to 9 May 1945. Medal Of Honor for...
Military | General | Supreme Commander
Military | Major | Fighter Pilot
Don Gentile was born on December 6, 1920, to Italian parents in Piqua, Ohio. As a boy, he had always been fascinated with flying and built, as his mother remembered, hundreds of model airplanes. Don used to say to his mother, “I hope someday I'll be...
Military | Major | Pilot
Major Goodson was a U.S. citizen born in New York City on 21 March 1921 of British parents. He was raised in Toronto, Canada, by his mother following his father's death. In 1939, upon graduation from high school, he had no money but a desire to meet...
Military | Lieutenant General | Commanding General, 8th Air Force Fighter Command
From 1909 to 1913, Kepner served in the US Marine Corps. By 1916 he was a second lieutenant in the Indiana National Guard. After a short spell in the US cavalry, in 1917 he transferred to the infantry as a captain and commanded a company at the Battle...
Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot
Joe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on 27 June 1922. He took his pilot training in the Royal Canadian Air Force and engaged in combat with the Royal Air Force prior to transferring to the 4th Fighter Group, 334th Squadron on 28 December 1943. On 19...
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...