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9th Fighter Squadron (9th FS) "The Flying Knights"
U. S. Army Air Force, 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group (49th FG)
Background
PacificWrecks.comDuring 1941 designated the 9th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) in the 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor). On June 20, 1941 became part of the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF). Nicknamed "The Flying Knights" with the motif of a medieval knight's helmet with wings atop a shield with a blue background and red diagonal stripe.

On February 2, 1942 the 9th Pursuit Squadron equipped with the P-40E Warhawks arrives at Melbourne. On February 14, 1942 transfers to Williamtown Airfield. On March 17, 1942 transfers to Batchelor Field near Darwin and the next day fly their first combat mission.

On April 4, 1942 crashed on take off from 34 Mile Drome is P-40E 41-24873 pilot Lt. John D. Livingstone who died in the crash and afterwards the airfield was renamed "Livingstone Field" in his honor. Accidentally shot down by Australian anti-aircraft fire is P-40E "Arizona" 41-5551 pilot Lt. Grover J. Gardner.

In early May 1942 designated 9th Fighter Squadron (9th FS).

On July 12, 1942 four P-40s took off a training flight to simulate a dogfight over over Manton Reservoir south of Darwin. During a simulated dog fight, P-40E 41-35943 pilot 2nd Lt. John Sauber dove in from a higher altitude and collided with P-40E "Tarheel" 41-5509 pilot 2nd. Lt. George E. Preddy Jr. who managed to bail out. Sauber was either killed on impact when his aircraft crashed into the ground.

On October 10, 1942 moved to 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer Drome) near Port Moresby and began flying combat missions over New Guinea including missions during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in early March 1943.

On November 17, 1942 ditched is P-40E 41-24821 pilot Lt Floyd Finberg off Gaile to the southeast of Port Moresby. Returning from a mission to escort C-47s bound for Pongani Airfield, returning P-40E 41-36166  pilot Haning force lands at Hula Airfield.

On November 22, 1942 crashed is P-40E 41-36089  pilot 2nd Lt. Ralph L. Wire who bailed out and later returns to duty.

On December 26, 1942 crashed is P-40E "The Rebel" 41-25164  pilot 1st Lt. John Dave "Big John" Landers shot down by Ki-43 Oscars and but bails out and later returns to duty.

On February 20, 1943 took off on an escort mission over Gasmata and returning three aircraft: P-38G 42-12866 pilot 1st Lt. Arthur R. Bauhof, P-38G 43-2215 pilot 1st Lt. Robert E. Douglas and P-38G 42-12863 pilot 1st Lt. Harry E. Lidstrom became lost and force landed at Huiva Plantation. All three pilots were rescued and returned to duty and later all three aircraft were recovered.

On March 2, 1943 crashed is P-40E 41-36243 near Kokoda.

On March 6, 1943 moved to Horanda Airfield (Dobodura 4) in New Guinea. During late 1943, the squadron also operated from Kiriwina Airfield to stage for missions against Rabaul.

On June 18, 1943 crashed is P-40E 41-36157  pilot 1st Lt. Benjamin F. Duke, Jr. was killed during a take off accident at Dobodura.

On December 16, 1943 moved to Gusap Airfield in New Guinea.

During November 1943, due to shortages Lightnings, transitioned to P-47D Thunderbolt and continued to operate the type until May 1944 when they transitioned back to the P-38 Lightning.

On June 3, 1944 nineteen P-38 from the 9th FS took off from Hollandia Airfield on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells over Babo. Lost is P-38J 43-28516 pilot Lt. Col. David A. Campbell (MIA).

Commanding Officers (C. O.)
Captain Ben S. Irvin "Bitchin' Ben" 1942
Lt. Col. David A. Campbell December 1943–June 3, 1944

References
AFHRA - History Highlights of the 49th Fighter Group 1941 to 1946
Fighter Pilot (1950) by Ralph H. Wandrey
49th Fighter Group (1989) by Ernest R. McDowell
Jungle Ace Col. Gerald R. Johnson, the USAAF's Top Fighter Leader of the Pacific War (1991) by John R. Bruning, Jr.
Stars & Bars (1995) by Frank Olynyk pages 35 (49th FG, 7th FS, 8th FS), 36 (49th FG, 9th FS)
Tales of a War Pilot (2001) by Richard C. Kirkland
Protect & Avenge The 49th Fighter Group in World War II (1995) by S. W. Ferguson & William K. Pascalis
49th Fighter Group Aces of the Pacific Aviation Elite Units 14 (2004) by by William Hess


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