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Lieutenant Colonel William A. Shomo
P-39 Airacobra, F-6 Mustang pilot and ace earned the Medal of Honor
William Arthur Shomo was born May 30, 1918 to parents George Washington Shomo and Bertha May (née Uncapher) Shomo in Jeannette, Pennsylvania.

Wartime History
On August 18, 1941 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as an aviation cadet with serial number 13037968. After completing flight school he earned his wings and on March 7, 1942 was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with serial number O-439677. On October 18, 1943 promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant then overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

During November 1943, assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group (71st TRG), 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (82nd TRS) "The Strafin' Saints" as a pilot flying the P-39 Airacobra on photographic reconnaissance missions from Dobodura Airfield then moved to Saidor Airfield and Tadji Airfield flying mission s over Japanese targets on the northern coast of New Guinea. By December 1943, he had 808 hours 15 minutes of first pilot time for a total of 1,050 hours and 25 minutes.

During the middle of June 1944 the squadron began operating from Borokoe Airfield on Biak.

On September 2, 1944 took off from Borokoe Airfield on Biak piloting a P-40 Warhawk leading a flight of P-39Q 44-3569 (MIA), P-39Q 42-20357 (MIA) and P-39Q 42-20353 on an armed reconnaissance mission. Due to bad weather, the mission was aborted all three Airacobras went missing only Shomo returning as the sole survivor.

On September 22 1944 promoted to the rank of Captain. On October 1, 1944 the squadron moved to Morotai Airfield and began transitioning to the F-6D Mustang, the photographic reconnaissance version of P-51D Mustang. On December 24, 1944 Shomo became the Commanding Officer (C.O.) of the 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (82nd TRS) "The Strafin' Saints". On December 29, 1944 began operating from Hill Airfield on Mindoro in the Philippines.

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On January 10, 1944 took off from Hill Field (Hammer) flying an F-6D Mustang serial number unknown on a mission. He claimed a D3A Val, his first aerial victory claim over the Cagayan River, south of Tuguegarao.

On January 11, 1945 took off from Hill Field (Hammer) piloting F-6D "Snooks 5th" 44-14841 with wingman F-6 44-14873 pilot Lt. Paul Lipscomb on an armed photographic and strafing mission mission over northern Luzon including Tuguegarao Airfield, Aparri Airfield, and Laoag Airfield. From below, the pair spotted a formation of enemy planes flying south at about 2,500' roughly a mile south of Tuguegarao Airfield.

Despite being outnumbered, they immediately pulled Immelmann turns and found themselves behind 11 Ki-61 Tonys and 1 Ki-44 Tojo escorting a G4M Betty. Closing and making a climbing turn and fired on the lead plane in the third element causing it to explode. Next, Shomo attacked the second element from the left side and shot another fighter in flames. Afterwards, attacked a third fighter causing it to explode and fall out of formation then attacked the G4M Betty causing it to crash and burn, pulled up and made a head on pass and claimed it as destroyed. Afterwards, dove on a first element and destroyed another fighter, dove down another 300' and fired on another fighter causing it to crash in flames. Meanwhile, wingman Lt. Paul Lipscomb also claimed three other planes shot down with the three remaining enemy fighters fleeing into the clouds and escaping. In total, Shomo claimed seven aerial victories. For his actions, Shomo would later earn the Medal of Honor.

On January 14, 1945 promoted to the rank of Major. On April 3, 1945 he was bestowed the Medal Of Honor by Major General Ennis Whitehead at a ceremony at Lingayen Airfield. He remained with the squadron until May 25, 1945.

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Aerial Victory Claims
Shomo was officially credited with eight aerial victories. On January 10, 1945 he claimed his first aerial victory. On January 11, 1945 he claimed seven aerial victories, in a single combat and became an "ace" and later earned the Medal of Honor.

Victory Date Location Aircraft Notes on claim
1 01/10/45 S. of Tuguegarao D3A Val First aerial victory claim.
2 01/11/45 S. of Tuguegarao Ki-61 Tony Second aerial victory claim (lead plane, third element exploded midair).
3 01/11/45 S. of Tuguegarao Ki-61 Tony Third aerial victory claim (second element, shot down in flames).
4 01/11/45 S. of Tuguegarao Ki-61 Tony Fourth aerial victory claim (exploded and fell in flames).
5 01/11/45 S. of Tuguegarao G4M Betty Fifth aerial victory claim became an "ace" (hit underside, crashed and burn).
6 01/11/45 S. of Tuguegarao Ki-61 Tony Sixth aerial victory claim (destroyed during head on pass).
7 01/11/45 S. of Tuguegarao Ki-61 Tony Seventh aerial victory claim (first element lead plane shot down).
8 01/11/45 S. of Tuguegarao Ki-61 Tony Eighth aerial victory claim (hit with burst causing it to crash in flames).

Assigned Aircraft
Shomo was assigned six planes, all nicknamed "Snooks" with a ordinal number for each subsequent plane (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th).

P-39Q "Snooks" 42-20351  assigned to Shomo. On May 21, 1944 MIA piloted by Harrison over Awar Point.
P-39Q "Snooks 2nd" 42-19995  assigned to Shomo. Abandoned Tadji Airfield today Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Serviceman's Park.
P-40N "Snooks 3rd" Squadron Number 66  assigned to Shomo, fate unknown.
P-40N "Snooks 4th" Squadron Number 66 assigned to Shomo, fate unknown.
F-6D "Snooks 5th" 44-14841  assigned to Shomo flown January 11, 1945 crashed March 5, 1945 piloted by 2nd Lt Robert S. Huffman.
F-6D "The Flying Undertaker - Snooks 6th" 44-72505  assigned to Shomo operated from Binmaley Airfield.

Medal of Honor
For his actions on January 11, 1945, Shomo would later earn the Medal of Honor. On April 3, 1945 he was bestowed the Medal Of Honor by Major General Enis Whitehead at a ceremony at Lingayen Airfield. He also earned the DFC (DFC), Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

Medal of Honor (January 11, 1945)
Medal of Honor "Maj. Shomo was lead pilot of a flight of 2 fighter planes charged with an armed photographic and strafing mission against the Aparri and Laoag airdromes. While en route to the objective, he observed an enemy twin engine bomber, protected by 12 fighters, flying about 2,500 feet above him and in the opposite direction Although the odds were 13 to 2, Maj. Shomo immediately ordered an attack. Accompanied by his wingman he closed on the enemy formation in a climbing turn and scored hits on the leading plane of the third element, which exploded in midair. Maj. Shomo then attacked the second element from the left side of the formation and shot another fighter down in flames. When the enemy formed for Counterattack, Maj. Shomo moved to the other side of the formation and hit a third fighter which exploded and fell. Diving below the bomber he put a burst into its underside and it crashed and burned. Pulling up from this pass he encountered a fifth plane firing head on and destroyed it. He next dived upon the first element and shot down the lead plane; then diving to 300 feet in pursuit of another fighter he caught it with his initial burst and it crashed in flames. During this action his wingman had shot down 3 planes, while the 3 remaining enemy fighters had fled into a cloudbank and escaped. Maj. Shomo's extraordinary gallantry and intrepidity in attacking such a far superior force and destroying 7 enemy aircraft in one action is unparalleled in the southwest Pacific area."

During October 1945 sent home to the United States. On May 18, 1946 released from active duty. Back home, he joined the Pennsylvania State National Guard. On June 19, 1947 returned to active duty. On September 18, 1947 became part of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) assigned to Headquarters, Strategic Air Command at Andrews AFB. Next, attended Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell AFB for two years then held many assignments including Deputy Director of Operations at Selfridge AFB. On February 20, 1951 promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In September 1968 retired from active duty.

Shomo passed away on June 25, 1990 at age 72. He is buried in Greensburg, PA at section D, lot 134.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William A. Shomo
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Shomo, William A. page 172 (PDF page 179), Alphabetical list by theater of operation (SWP) Shomo, William A.: 01/10/45 1/11/45 (seven) page 364 (PDF page 370)
Air Force Historical Support Division - Shomo -- Maj William A. Shomo (photo)
Congressional Medal of Honor Society - Shomo, William A.
FindAGrave - Maj William Arthur Shomo (photo, grave photo)

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