RAYMOND K. GALLAGHER, (SKEETS) born
November 7, 1916; B.S. Degree - University of
Illinois 1938; Flying School Class of 40-B.
Started with P-47's in October, 1942 as C.O. of
the 342nd Ftr Squad, 348th Ftr Gp. Our
Squad was based at the old Bedford Airdrome (Now
Hanscom AFB) near Boston. The rest of the group
was based at Providence,R.I. We were the second
P-47 Group to deploy to combat (the 356th was
first to England).
We thought England was to be our destination,
so based on some good intelligence, we had our
supply office purchase 1,000 pairs of Silk
Stockings in New York to use as "barter"
material. Our group departed New York in April,
1943 in a large convoy which included our entire
Fighter group and four destroyers and one
Cruiser escort, and headed for England.
Three days out to sea the Captain was
authorized to open his secret orders-they read-
destination Brisbane!!! Thirty-one days later we
arrived in Australia with the first P-47's in
the Pacific. Needless to say our silk stockings
didn't sell too well with the New Guinea
Since we were the first allied radial engine
fighters to enter the Southwest Pacific war, we
decided to paint our tail sections all white.
This proved to be a wise move as heretofore all
radials were fair game for allied fighters.
When I left the Squadron to be Deputy Group
C.O., we had 102 victories with only two losses.
We had no engine failures during our first
50,000 hours of flying other than combat damage.
Not bad for the old Jug and the great R-2800.
Returned to the ZI in October, 1944 and
stayed with the Jug-Vice Commander at
Seymour-Johnson where we had 200 Jugs in a
Gunnery Training Program. Then deployed to
gunnery school at Suffolk Co., N.Y. Closed
Seymour then moved to Selfridge.
Flew some air shows with the 51st Group and
then to a three year tour with the Guard at
Nashville, Tenn. in 1947, with the 105th Ftr,
probably the best flying I ever had. We had 28
Jugs always in commission. I formed and led an
ACROBATIC team for three years; started with
four Jugs, then a twelve ship act with a twelve
ship formation loop (three diamonds). My
original four ships included Dick White, left
wing; Jay Ball, right wing; and Pee Wee Carter
(Ret B.G.), slot. They are all still in
Nashville. I believe we were the first to do the
bomb burst - now famous with the T-Birds.
After the Korean War, where I was C.O. of the
8th Ftr Wing (F-80's) and had been out of prop
types for a few years, I got talked into putting
on a Jug acro act in Havana, Cuba for the Guard
there. Damned near killed myself so quit Jugs
for good after about 1700Jug hours total. Quite
a bird. Flew jets for the next twenty years and
retired at the end of 1969. Now a banker.