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Ralph C Jenkins


Ralph C. Jenkins: Was a 25 year old Flight Commander flying Thunderbolt fighters in the 510th Squadron, 405th Group 9th Air Force. Became Squadron Commander and flew 129 combat missions beginning on D-Day Normandy. After the airfield was established in Picauville near St. Mere Eglise by demolishing an apple orchard on June 29th 1944, laying down tar paper on the grass. He remained there until 11th September 1944 and was happy when Germans left Cherbourg airfield so Thunderbolt squadrons could land on a concrete runway. Almost all of his airborne missions were against the German Army and the roads , railroads, canals and airfields used by them.

They of course dealt with the Luftwaffe when the opportunity presented itself, but, by this time it was a much weakened force. German anti-aircraft fire made their missions extremely dangerous! Some of the most severe casualties we suffered were launched from Picauville. They would initiate their attack from about 5000 ft and ceased firing while they were literally at tree top level. Four of his fellow pilots Ralph believes are now buried at the American Cemetery:
2nd Lt William E. Varnes, Lt Col Bruce F. Parcell, 2nd Lt Clifford B. Russell and 1st Lt Benjamin F. Savage.

Ralph remembers attending their burial in a virgin field at that time. He understands that today it is now a most beautiful tribute to those who fell there.

When Lt Col Parcell was killed in action near St Lo, Ralph was given command of the 510th Fighter Squadron and retained that position at St Dizier France, Ophoven Belgium, and Kitzingen Germany until VE Day on May 8th 1945.

Retired as Col in Aug. 1968 and sadly passed away at 98 in May of 2017.
P-47D s/n 44-33133 2Z+T "Tallahssee Lassie"



  • Bruce Parcell

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Commanding Officer | 405th Fighter Group
    Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters

  • Clifford Russell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | pilot | 405th Fighter Group
    Clifford B. Russell was born in Bozeman, Montana and raised in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1940 from Portland, Oregon. He received his wings at the 63rd A.A.F. Flying Training Detachment in Georgia in Nov., 1943 and was...

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Units served with

  • 405th Fighter Group

    405th Fighter Group

    The 405th Fighter Group was a fighter bomber unit of the United States Army Air Force in World War II. They group flew P-47 Thunderbolts in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) starting with the buildup to the Invasion of Normandy on "D-Day", ...

  • 510th Fighter Squadron

Associated Place

  • Christchurch

    Military site : airfield
    The original Christchurch Airport operated from 1935-39, and the airfield was used by the RAF from 1939 to 1941. It was the site of the Airspeed Aircraft factiry from 1940 to 51. Christchurch was developed for USAAF use in 1943, and the Ninth Air Force...

  • Saint-Dizier

    Military site : airfield

  • Picauville

    Military site : airfield

  • Ophoven

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date
Born Victoria, Capital Regional District, British Columbia, Canada 14 May 1919
Died Seattle, King County, Washington, USA 10 May 2017

(aged 97)


Date Contributor Update
19 June 2022 20:57:22 jmoore43 Changes to events

Removed extra info from "Description" section.

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2022 20:55:48 jmoore43 Changes to events

Added Born and Died events per Find-a-grave Memorial ID 179559522.

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2022 20:45:54 jmoore43 Changes to biography

Corrected a typo in the "Summary biography" - “established” was misspelled.

Date Contributor Update
28 January 2018 02:00:10 fugari Changes to biography

JCook Photo Collection & Arhives

Date Contributor Update
28 January 2018 01:55:39 fugari Changes to service number, highest rank, role, biography, awards, unit associations and place associations

JCook Photo Collection & Arhives

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2017 02:52:45 Mdala Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, person associations, unit associations and place associations

Acquired by David E. Huntley from Ralph C. Jenkins for my book and web site.
Other pictures courtesy of Ms Lucille Blood widow Lt Colonel Arlie Blood