Toronto Officer Says U.S. Ace 'Doesn't Know How He Does It’
A United States Fighter Base, England, 10 April 1944 - (AP) - Capt. Don S. Gentile, the leading United States Air Force ace in the European war theatre, makes the job of mowing down Nazi planes sound as easy as picking birds off a fence.
Teamwork Spelled Victories And Survival for American Ace
EIGHTH AIR FORCE FIGHTER BASE. England, 23 April 1944, By CAPT. DON S. GENTILE, As Told to Ira Wolfert - (By Wireless) - When the bell rang for the big fight against Hitler's Luftwaffe last February our twenty-six-year-old Col. Donald Blakeslee, another Ohio boy, led into action as fine a team as I think any nation has ever been able to gather together.
Measure of Confidence
I’ll Take The Port One
GODFREY ADDS TO AIR BAG
Captains Gentile & Godfrey (photo from leisuregalleries)
WASHINGTON, 19 May 1944 - (AP) - The flying firm of Gentile and Godfrey which has destroyed more than two score Nazi planes made a report to the Capital today.
At a joint press conference, Captain Don S. Gentile, deputy squadron commander of an Eighth Air Force group, and his wingman, Captain John T. Godfrey, each agreed that he wouldn't be alive without his partner's aid and that his score of enemy planes wouldn't be as high.
Gentile is a resident of Piqua, O., and Godfrey's home is Woonsocket, R.I. Both are of almost the same age, Gentile 23 and Godfrey 22.
Discussing the teamwork necessary for the ground strafing and air fighting tactics in which they specialize, Gentile said: "Every time I went out on my own without a good wingman, I got shot up. It was the same with Godfrey, so we decided we'd better stay together."
Godfrey said he got about 21 or 22 planes while flying with Gentile and the latter estimated his score at about 22 or 23 while Godfrey was flying as his wingman. Gentile is credited with destroying a total of 30 enemy planes, 23 of them shot down in combat.
Gentile's decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross with seven oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal with three clusters. Godfrey's decorations include the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross with six clusters and the Air Medal with three clusters.
Both men plan to leave for their respective homes sometime tomorrow.
New York, May 28 - (AP) - Captains Don Gentile and John Godfrey, the American aces whose one-two aerial punch has yielded them a combined bag or 59 nazi planes, today climaxed their first visit to the nation's metropolis with a broadcast in which they said they were anxious to return to action in "the big league."
The two filers were interviewed on a radio program.
"I'd like to get back to the big leagues and try my luck again," said Gentile, the Piqua, Ohio, youth who is leading ace of the European theater with 30 planes.
"And if I could have Johnny as my wingman, that would be perfect," he added.
Godfrey, resident of Woonsocket, R.I., who was wing pilot to Gentile and runner-up to him in planes downed with 29, said, "That goes double for me."
From BETTY KNOX, 12 June 1944 - The Old Eagle Squadron hatched a brood of fledgling flyers and pushed them out of the nest in the fighter-bomber Mustang on D-Day.
Only five of the original Eagle Squadron are left now. Once there were 75 members of the unit that flew with the R.A.F. before America entered the war.
Don Blakeslee's fighter group, transferred to the U.S.A.A.F. in the fall of 1942. It is the highest scoring group in the U.S. Air Force, having accounted for 200 enemy airplanes in the air and 186 on the ground in the three months before D-Day.
Of the five veterans who remain, only three flew with the old outfit on "D" day.
The bulk of the squadron is made up of relatively new boys. Some of them in fact arrived the day before "D" day; since then these 19 and 20-year-olds, young in comparison with the old hands, are now flying from one to three missions a day.
In the ranks of Blakeslee's group are four of America's top five Fighter aces, none of whom has less than 27 kills to his credit. They are: Major James A. Goodson, with 30; Captain Don Gentile, with 30; Captain John Godfrey, with 29; and First Lieutenant Ralph Hofer, with 29.
The fifth, Major Bob Johnson, with 27, flies a Thunderbolt.
D-Day was an unlucky day for three of the big five.
After flying in all the major shows since the tough old days, Gentile, Godfrey and Johnson could not keep the most important date in their flying lives, because they were on long-overdue leave in the United States.
As for Lieutenant Hofer, D-Day was different.
Two enemy troop trains did not get where they were going, or anywhere, because at 7 a.m. Hofer stopped them - with our bombs.
Major Goodson says it was a good day considering everything. With Goodson, "everything" includes almost not getting back. But he thinks he's pretty lucky. He is the only one of the five aces who is in Britain today.
That is because yesterday Hofer crash-landed on an emergency strip on the Allied beach-head. Hofer is doing O.K.
U.S. AIR COMMAND HEADQUARTERS, England, 24 Aug. 1944 – (UP) - Capt. John T. Godfrey, Mustang fighter pilot of Woonsocket, R. I., shot up four JU-52's on a German airdrome today to bring his score of enemy aircraft destroyed to thirty-six, the highest total of enemy planes destroyed on the ground and in the air for any Eighth Air Force Fighter Command pilot.
Godfrey hit the four at an airdrome in the heart of Germany during an escort mission with heavy bombers. Other pilots with him knocked out four other planes.
Since he returned from leave in the United States, ten days ago, Godfrey has added ten planes to his score, eight of them by ground strafing, and he now has destroyed eighteen on the ground and an equal number in air combat.
WASHINGTON, 22 Dec. 1944 (UP) — An honor roll of 34 Army Air Force fighter aces, each of whom has destroyed 15 or more enemy planes in combat, was issued by the War Department today and at the top of the list was Maj. Richard I Bong, of Poplar, Wis.
Among them, they have shot down a total of 689¼ German and Jap planes.
The Eighth Air Force, which operates in Europe against the Germans, had the most aces — 13 — with scores of 15 or better kills. The Fifth Air Force, operating in the Southwest Pacific, was next with 10, but it boasted the two top men - Maj. Bong and Maj. Thomas B. McGuire, of San Antonio, Tex., who has bagged 30 Jap planes.
Next in line were the 15th Air Force which operates in the Mediterranean and has four aces in the select circle; the Ninth which operates in Europe and has three top-ranking aces, and the 13th (based in the South Pacific) and the 14th (based in China) each with two.
Maj. Bong is credited with 38 kills but since the list was tabulated Dec. 15, he has run his bag to 40.
Other high ranking fighter pilots and their scores were:
Lt. Col. Francis S. Gabreski, of 95 Spruce St., Oil City, Pa., Eighth A.F., 28 (POW in Germany)
Maj. Robert S. Johnson, Lawton, Okla., Eighth A.F., 27.
Maj. George E. Preddy, Greensboro, N.C., Eighth A.F., 24.
Capt. Don S. Gentile, Piqua, O., Eighth A.F., 23.
Maj. Gerald T. Johnson, Eugene, Ore., Fifth A.F., 23.
Maj. Fred J. Christensen Jr., Watertown, Mass., Eighth A.F., 22.
Col. Neel E. Kearby, Dallas. Tex., Fifth A.F., 22. (Missing in action).
Col. Glenn E. Duncan, Houston, Tex., Eighth A.F., 21 1/2 (Missing in action).
Capt. John J. Voll, Goshen, O., 15th A.F., 21.
Maj. Walker M. Mahurin, Fort Wayne, Ind., Eighth A.F., 21.
Maj. Jay T. Robbins, Coolidge, Tex., Fifth A.F., 21.
Lt. Col. Robert B. Westbrook, Hollywood, Cal., 13th A.F., 20.
Col. Charles H. MacDonald, St. Petersburg. Fla., Fifth A.F., 20.
Lt. Col. Thomas J. Lynch, of Catasauqua, Pa., Fifth A.F. 26, (killed in action)
[Col. Lynch was an engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh and was graduated in
1940. His widow, a Swissvale resident, was the former Rosemary Fullen, of 7368 Schley Ave.]
Col. Hubert Zemke, Missoula, Mont., Eighth, 19 1/2.
Lt. Col. David C. Schilling, Traverse City, Mich., Eighth, 19.
Col. David L. Hill, Victoria, Tex., 14th A.F., 18 1/2.
Capt. John T. Godfrey, Woonsocket, R. I., Eighth, 18 (prisoner of war in Germany).
Lt. Col. Herschel H. Green, Mayfield, Ky., 15th A.F., 18.
Capt. Duane W. Beesen, Boise, Ida., Eighth, 18 (prisoner of war in Germany).
Maj. Walker Carl Beckham, Defuniak Springs, Fla., Eighth, 18 (prisoner of war in Germany).
Maj. Don M. Beerbower, Hill City, Minn., Ninth A.F., 17 1/2 (killed in action).
Capt. James S. Varnell, Charleston, Tenn., 15th, 17.
Capt. Cyril F. Homer, Sacramento, Cal., Fifth, 17.
Maj. Edward Cragg, Cos Cob, Conn., Fifth, 17 (missing in action).
Capt. Glen T. Eagleston, Alhambra, Cal., Ninth, 16 1/2.
Lt Col. William N. Reed. Marion, Ia., 14th, 16 1/2.
Maj. George S. Welch, Wilmington, Del., Fifth, 16.
Lt. Col. Richard E. Turner, Bartlesville, Okla., Ninth, 16.
Maj. Samuel J. Brown, Tulsa, Okla., 15th, 15 1/2.
Maj. Bill Harris, Springville, Cal., 13th A.F., 15.
Capt. Richard A. Peterson, Alexandria, Minn., Eighth, 15.
16.33 / ? / ?
plus 11.75 On The Ground
(He claimed 18, but Johnny, like many other pilots, considered shared kills whole kills, so ...)
Dates & count (but not type) of air kills from the AFHRA.
Ground kills (& a/c types) from other sources & accuracy of some can not be verified
FREEPORT, Maine. 12 June 1958 - (AP) - John T. Godfrey, 37, the nation's second-ranking World War II flying ace, died in his home today of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Dr. Ralph E. Williams Jr. of Freeport said the former Rhode Island legislator died from continued weakening caused by the incurable illness.
Before being stricken, the hulking six-footer carried on a running battle with Pentagon brass over his actual record of kills. Godfrey claimed 36 definites, 18 on the ground and 18 in the air, and had a certificate from his commanding officer to prove it. The Air Force, according to Godfrey, was "dead wrong" in crediting him with only 29.
The late Maj. Richard I. Bong is credited with the record - 40 kills.
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