Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Arkansas Traveler

A few weeks ago I posted this review of "Unbroken" about WWII bomber and Japan POW survivor Louie Zamperini. My mom is now reading the book and it's perked our interest about the experiences of her uncle, Owen Fincher, who was a pilot during World War II and flew under Doolittle (portrayed by Alec Baldwin in "Pearl Harbor" in 2001).

Owen named his plane the Arkansas Traveler, and there is a picture of it in a museum in Little Rock.


Here's some info I found online: The Arkansas Traveler is a P-38 that was assigned to the 392nd Squadron of the 367th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force. It was piloted by Captain Owen Fincher until the end of the war in Europe... The Arkansas Traveler ended up in Belgium where she was chopped up for scrap metal. (http://cadronridgeranch.com/htdocs/search2.htm).

The 367th Fighter Group was activated on July 15, 1943. For the next two and  half years, the group participated in seven European Campaigns and flew 14,175 combat sorties that destroyed 432 enemy aircraft, probably destroying 28 and damaging 344. They destroyed or badly damaged 384 locomotives, 4,672 motor vehicles and 8,288 railroad cars before they were redesignated in May 1936.

The 367th was stationed in California, England, France and Germany before returning to North Carolina in 1945 and are said to have greatly contributed to the defeat of Hitler's Germany. For their work the 367th received two Presidential Unit Citations, two Belgium Army Order of the Day Citations and many letters of commendations. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/367th_Fighter_Group).

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