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35th Pursuit Squadron (35th PS) / 35th Fighter Squadron (35th FS)
"The Black Panthers"

U.S. Army Air Force, 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group (8th FG)
Background
During World War II, assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF), 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group (8th FG) as the 35th Pursuit Squadron (35th PS) and later renamed the 35th Fighter Squadron (35th FS) and nicknamed "The Black Panthers" equipped with the P-39 Airacobra and later the P-38 Lightning flying combat missions in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).


35th Fighter Squadron (35th FS) pilots in flight gear at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby (Robinson, June 1, 1942)

World War I

On June 12, 1917 organized as the 35th Aero Squadron assigned to the 3rd Aviation Instruction Center at Camp Kelly in Texas. During World War I, sent overseas to France and was tasked with assembly and maintenance of aircraft based at Etampes, Paris, Issoudun, Clisson and St. Nazaire. Afterwards, returned to the United States to Garden City, NY. On March 19, 1919 demobilized at Langley Field, VA.

Interwar Period
On March 24, 1923 reconstituted as the 35th Pursuit Squadron. On June 25, 1923 activated as part of the 8th Pursuit Group (8th PG) at Mitchel Field, NY. On July 2, 1926 became part of the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC). On November 7, 1932 nicknamed "The Black Panthers" and the squadron emblem was approved a panther with the mouth open inside a silver oval with a blue border. The squadron was equipped with aircraft including the Boeing P-12, Curtiss P-6 Hawk and Consolidated PB-2.

On December 6, 1939 redesignated 35th Pursuit Squadron (Fighter) equipped with the P-36, YP-37 and A-17 then used the P-40 Warhawk, P-39 Airacobra and P-400 Airacobra. On March 12, 1941 redesignated 35th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor). On June 20, 1941 became part of the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF).

World War II
During January 1942 the 35th Pursuit Squadron (35th PS) was sent overseas across the Pacific to Australia. On March 6, 1942 arrives Brisbane. In late April 1942 the squadron arrives at 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby in New Guinea.

On April 26, 1942 during a ferry flight, lost is P-39F 41-7210  pilot Lt. William McGovern (survived) force landed south of Murdoch Point near Cooktown, pilot survived unhurt and was rescued the next day.

On April 30, 1942 eleven P-39 Airacobras from the 35th FS and 36th FS led by Lt. Col Boyd D. "Buzz" Wagner took off on a mission to strike Lae Airfield. This was the first combat mission of the 8th Pursuit Group (8th PG) in New Guinea. At 2:37pm, the Airacobras strafed Lae Airfield targeting parked aircraft and seaplanes in Huon Gulf, then depart the target area. Near Salamaua, A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group) attack the formation. Lost are P-39F 41-7128  pilot 1st Lt. Edward D. Durand (MIA), P-39D 41-6930  pilot 2nd Lt. Arthur "Art" Andres (survived) force landed and later rescued.

On May 4, 1942 lost is P-39F 41-7207  pilot 1st Lt. Harold J. Chivers shot down by Zeros and likely crashed in the Brown River area.

On May 8, 1942 ditched is P-39F 41-7188  pilot 2nd Lt Alva Guy Hawkins damaged by Zeros and returns to duty.

On May 12, 1942 shot down is P-39D 41-6802 pilot 2nd Lt. Robert M. Wilde (KIA) shot down while attempting to intercept A6M2 Zeros over Port Moresby.

On May 13, 1942 lost is P-39D 41-6945  pilot 2nd Lt. Hervey Carpenter damaged intercepting A6M2 Zeros, bailed out and returned to duty.

On May 15, 1942 redesigned as 35th Fighter Squadron (35th FS).

On May 27, 1942 lost is P-39F 41-7153  pilot 2nd Lt. Alva Guy Hawkins (MIA) during air combat with A6M2 Zeros, last seen 5-10 miles south of Rigo.

On May 28, 1942 the squadron scrambled to intercept A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group) over Port Moresby. During the combat, three Airacobras were shot down. Force landed is P-39D 41-6970  pilot Lt. J. F. Ward, Jr. (survived) and later returns to duty. Lost is P-39F 41-7126 piloted by Paul S. Miller. Shot down was P-39F pilot Anders bailed out and returned to duty.

On June 1, 1942 lost is P-39F 41-7200  pilot 2nd William G. Hosford (KIA) shot down over Fairfax Harbor. Lost is P-39F 41-7194 pilot 2nd Lt Gentry R. Plunkett, Jr. (survived) shot down by A6M2 Zeros bails out and returns to duty.

On June 29, 1942 the squadron withdraws from Port Moresby to Woodstock Airfield.

On July 27, 1942 moves from Woodstock Airfield to Garbutt Field.

On September 18, 1942 moves from Ross River Airfield to Milne Bay.

On February 24, 1943 moves from Milne Bay to Mareeba Airfield.

On July 28, 1943 lost on a test flight is P-39 Airacobra piloted by 2nd Lt. William S. Gillen (MIA) and was observed to crash into the sea off Paga Point.

On November 15, 1943 lost is P-40N Warhawk 42-105509 pilot 1st Lt Robert Parker (MIA) due to an aerial collision with a Ki-43 Oscar in the vicinity of Kaiapit.

On March 30, 1944 lost is P-38H 42-66746  pilot 1st Lt. Dean E. Jacobson (MIA) on a flight bound for Milne Bay.

On April 30, 1944 lost is P-38H 42-66846 pilot 1st Lt. Charles A. Cours on a training flight to practice strafing runs, hit a tree and was damaged but the pilot survived the crash and returned to duty.

On June 18, 1944 lost is P-38J 42-67802  pilot 1st Lt. Delmar E. King (MIA) on a flight bound for Nadzab Airfield.

On October 12, 1944 lost is P-38L Lightning pilot Captain Lee R. Everhart (MIA) on a dive bombing and strafing mission against Mapanget Airfield on Celebes (Sulawesi) and hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed.

Postwar
On January 20, 1950 redesignated 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. The squadron served in the Korean War June 27, 1950 until July 27, 1953. On July 1, 1958 redesignated 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

Awards
The 35th Fighter Squadron earned twp Presidental Unit Citations during the Korean War for action between June 27, 1950–January 31, 1951 and February 1, 1951–March 31, 1953.

References
Combat Squadrons of the Air Force World War II (1982) pages 167-169 (35th Fighter) [PDF pages 179-181]
Stars & Bars (1995) pages 25 (8th PG / 8th FG)
Attack & Conquer The 8th Fighter Group in World War II (1999) unit history of the 8th Fighter Group (8th FG)
P-39 Airacobra Aces of World War 2 (2001) page 9
"P-39s of the USAAF's 8th PG (all pursuit groups were redesignated fighter groups in May 1942)"



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