Staff Sergeant, J. Andy Anderson,
|Picture taken Spring 1944 at the second airfield in England occupied by the 362nd Fighter Group Station 411, Headcorn near the town of Maidstone. The group moved here in April 1944 following 5 months at Station 159, Wormingford, near the city of Colchester. This move was in anticipation of the invasion of Euope at Normandy in June 1944.|
Andy Anderson (Age 23) standing
with a P-47
plane of Lt. McCleary pictured above, was involved in a bomber escort mission in the area
of Senoches (France) on July 5, 1944, when it and other P47s of the 379th
Fighter Squadron were bounced by twenty to thirty ME109s of the Luftwaffe. In the ensuing
engagement, two ME109s and two P47s were shot down. Lt.
McClearys plane was hit and he was forced to bail out and was captured. He became a
prisoner of war. He came down near Argentan, France. He survived and was released at the
end of the war.
James "Andy" Anderson was part of the Original 379th. Around March 1943 a new fighter group was being activated at Westover Field, Massachusetts. They would become the The 362nd Fighter Group. This group consited of its' Group Headquarters, The 377th, 378th, and 379th Fighter Squadrons. This area will address in particular The 379th Fighter Squadron, Call sign: "KLONDIKE". Major Joseph L. Laughlin was assigned as the Commanding Officer. June of that year saw its' first contingent of young pilots. First came the flight leaders; Lt. George W. Rarey, Lt. Hugh F. Houghton, and Lt. George S. Palmer. Quickly after them followed a batch of young "shavetail" Second Lieutenants. By November 1943 this group of men were on their way toEngland and the perils of World War II.James "Andy" Anderson was assigned to The 379th Fighter Squadron as an Intellegence Section Chief. Mr. Anderson is very, very humble, and defers the acts of heroism and contributions to the war to everyone but himself. He has this to say about the pilots of the 379th: "This was as fine a group of young men I had ever known. They were so very different from the non-flying officers that there is no comparison. They considered enlisted men as equals and did not lord it over them, pulling rank and acting in a superior manner. Enlisted men as a result, reacted favorably - going to great lengths to work hard for them..." I was with the Ninth Air Force, a Fighter Group and was associated with Pilot George Rarey, whose father was one of the most revered fighter pilots of the 379th Fighter Squadron and who painted the cowlings of the P47s in the squadron, among other accomplishments, before he was killed in action during the Battle of Normandy in 1944. Postscript: The 362nd Fighter Group moved to Normandy, France, beginning July 2, 1944. The Army Engineers scratched out a landing strip for them on the front lines at a base named A12 Balleroy/Lignarolles, Normandy, France, where personnel were bivouacked in foxholes and bunkers in an apple orchard, enduring daily shelling, strafing and bombing by German forces. It was difficult to fly missions under the circumstances, but it was managed, despite much damage inflicted to planes and personnel by the German shelling.
|If you would like to write to "Andy"
you can at: JAnders725@aol.com.Other Links:
US 9th Air Force
IXXth Tactical Air Command
The 379th is
Andy Anderson today -
81 years old and"still flyin'"