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Oscar Hoffman Coen


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.
He had become a school teacher in Marion, Illinois, but he decided he wanted to fly, and in May 1940 he enrolled as a U.S. Army Aviation Cadet. He soon discovered that he was to become a Navigator and resigned in September 1940, and later joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
After completing his RCAF training and OTU in England he was assigned to 71 Eagle Squadron flying Hurricanes. and later Spitfires.
On 20 October 1941 Oscar was strafing a train which blew up under him and he was forced to bail out over French occupied territory. With the help of the French Underground, he was able to avoid capture and escape through Southern France and Spain to Gibraltar. He returned to his squadron on Christmas Day 1941.
Back on Ops, on 27 April 1942 Coen with Mike McPharlin succeeded in downing three Fw-190s. On 19 august 1942 the two again collaborated in downing a Ju-88 and a "probable", andanother Fw-190, while helping to maintain air superiority over "Operation Jubilee", the code name for the unsuccessful Dieppe landing. Unfortunately, McPharlin had to bail out over the English Channel, but he was rescued and returned to base.

Oscar while flying near Alconbury in P-47C 41-6403 #03 the engine exploded, and in bailing out at high speed he used his right arm to pull the rip cord, and the sudden force fractured and dislocated his shoulder. Fortunately, he was over England and received immediate attention and therapy that saved his arm. After two months of recuperation he was back at the group on 4 August 1943. Still unable to raise his right arm above his head, he had to modify some of his movements to comply with the demands of cockpit routine, but he managed to the extent that he was again able to lead a squadron into combat.
On 11 April 1944 he transfered to the 356th FG has Deputy Group CO still flying P-47Ds.
He retired from the Air Force in 1962 as a Colonel serving has Deputy Commander of the 507th FIW flying F-102s. He died 23 June 2004 at Iowa State Veterans Home in Boise, Idaho.


Units served with

  • 356th Fighter Group

    356th Fighter Group

    The 356th Fighter Group flew 413 missions between 15 October 1943 and 7 May 1945 and suffered the highest ratio of losses to enemy aircraft claims of any Eighth Air Force Group. This gave the Group the reputation of being the 'hard luck' outfit. The...

  • 334th Fighter Squadron

    334th Fighter Squadron

    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...

  • 336th Fighter Squadron

    336th Fighter Squadron

    The 336th Fighter Squadron was constituted by the War Department on 22 august 1942, and was activated at Bushey Hall, England, on 12 September. It had been designated as No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron, and was made up of American volunteers to the Royal Air...

  • No 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    No 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    'On 19 September 1940, No. 71 was reformed at Church Fenton as the first 'Eagle' Squadron to be manned by American personnel. The Squadron received Hurricanes in November and became operational on defensive duties on 5 February 1941. No. 71 converted...



    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Mid air collision with 41-6416 5 miles North of Castle Camps, pilot Archie W. Chatterley managed to land the damaged A/C. 27th April 43. 41-6146 was abandoned as tail was sliced off, pilot James W. Wilkinson injured when he bailed out but survived. ...

  • 41-6413

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    This aircraft was at one time or another, assigned to the following pilots: Lt. Charles Carr, Capt. James A. Clark, Maj. Oscar Coen, Lt Col. Chesley Peterson, 1st Lt. Thomas J. Andrews.

  • W3957

    Supermarine Spitfire W3957 Mk Vb, Const #2142, Built at High Post. ...

  • AB802

    Supermarine Spitfire AB802 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • AB827

    Supermarine Spitfire AB827 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. Delivered to No 37 MU 24-8-41, assigned to 71S 10-9-41, missing from ground attack mission 20-10-41.

  • AD564

    Supermarine Spitfire AD564 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • BM293

    Supermarine Spitfire BM293 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • BL582

    Supermarine Spitfire BL582 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • 41-6403

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG 8AF USAAF. Lost 3 Apr 43 - Maj Oscar H Coen bailed safely.

Associated Place

  • 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...

  • Kirton-in-Lindsey

    Military site : airfield
    Used as an RFC and RAF Home Defence landing ground during the First World War, Kirton-in-Lindsey was built during 1938-40 as an RAF fighter station. It had two grass runways, 10 hardstandings, three grouped C hangars and four over-blister hangars....

  • Martlesham Heath

    Military site : airfield
    Opened in 1917 as home to the RFC Aeroplane Experimental Unit, Martlesham Heath became well known during the 1920s-30s as home to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment. Used as an RAF fighter station from 1939, with only a grass airfield...


Event Location Date


Date Contributor Update
08 March 2017 04:57:54 fugari Changes to role, biography, awards, events, unit associations and media associations


Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 11:41:23 Al_Skiff Changes to service number, unit associations and place associations

AAM DB Entry.

Date Contributor Update
03 October 2015 18:50:10 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations and place associations

AAM DB Entry.

Date Contributor Update
10 July 2015 16:07:18 Emily Changes to middlename and unit associations

Combined multiple records into one, this record contains additional information:

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit History

Ted Damick Fighter Command Pilots list.

Date Contributor Update
05 March 2015 20:28:41 apollo11 Changes to middlename, highest rank, biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations

Personal research & 'Eighty-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:20:53 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs Vol. I by Bishop and Hey p.98