Display award winners     Spring show 2007

Judges:     Jim Broadus,     Bill Price,      Jimmy Howell

              1st Place                               2nd Place                               3rd Place

                   Pat Gibson                                              Fred Heckart                                        Scott Jeanette

      German Daggers and Medals                         German WW2                                         Vietnam Sea Bee

Volume 32, Issue 1                                                                           The TMCA News                                                                                        Page 4

Eagle Squadron Patch (RAF)

American Volunteers during the Battle of Britain

We have all have heard of the famous “Flying Tigers”, American Volunteer Pilots who flew against the Japanese in China under General Chennault. What is little known, and was even less known before the movie “Pearl Harbor” came out a few years ago, was that 244 Volunteer American Pilots flew for the RAF during the Battle of Britain. They were formed up into three squadrons, No 71, 121 and 133 of the Royal Air Force Fighter Command. These squadrons were soon to be called “Eagle Squadrons” because of their American patch design. Unlike the Flying Tigers, who were former military pilots, forced to resign their commissions, the Eagle squadron pilots were mostly civilian pilots with little advanced education, most with just a High School diploma. They all had some flying time, usually 300-500 hours, but no primary or advanced military training. England was desperate at the time for pilots, so many were accepted from all over the world, Polish and French were the most common, as many had fled to England during the Blitz of Europe.

The Eagle Squadrons were commanded by English RAF officers, and they were mostly assigned to Convoy or Bomber escort missions. They flew Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes. As they proved themselves in combat, they began flying missions farther south and even over France. In all, Eagle Squadron pilots shot down some 73 German planes.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, most of the Eagle Squadron pilots wanted to join the US Army Air Corps. On Sep 29, 1942 they were incorporated into the U.S. 4th Fighter group as the 334th, 335th and 336th Fighter Squadrons. Most of them had been granted commissions equal to their RAF rank. They were also granted U.S. Military Pilots wings, remember, none of them had ever gone through any U.S. military pilot training schools. They all had valuable combat experience before the US was involved in Europe. Many went on to become Aces, such as Don Gentile with 21 + Air to Air victories and 7 more Air to Ground.                                                                              Cont. page 5                                               

Right: Pilot Officer Keough receives the 1st “Eagle Patch”