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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.



  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter Group

    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...


  • Jesse Auton

    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. ...

  • Donald Blakeslee

    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,...

  • James Clark

    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. ...

  • Oscar Coen

    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. ...

  • James Doolittle

    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...

  • Dwight Eisenhower

    Military | General | Supreme Commander

  • Dominic Gentile

    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...

  • James Goodson

    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...

  • William Kepner

    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...

  • Joseph Lang

    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...

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  • 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...


Date Contributor Update
21 July 2016 17:18:21 WD-C Mustang Changes to caption and person associations

Added names to the caption and associated persons.
Source: '1000 Destroyed' by Grover Hall

Date Contributor Update
26 April 2015 10:01:17 apollo11 Created entry with caption, unit associations, person associations and place associations

Personal research & 4th Fighter Group 'Debden Eagles' by Chris Bucholtz.