s/n 44-13318, Lt.Col. Thomas L. Hayes Jr., CO of 364th FS,
357th FG, 8th AF, Leiston, United Kingdom, August 1944
Thomas L. Hayes was born on March 31, 1917, in Portland, Oregon and after his studies at the Oregon State College he enlisted in the USAAF. After the training
he was assigned to 35th PG where he was flying P-40
defending Java against Japanese forces. After being
wounded in combat with Zeros of 3 Kōkūtai on February 20, 1942, he was dispatched to New Guinea.
There, he was assigned to 41st PS flying Airacobras.
In the fall of 1942, Thomas Hayes was sent back to
the USA where, in May 1943, he was assigned to 357th
FG with which he completed the advanced training.
Already in command of 364th FS, he was sent to Great
Britain where he flew combat missions until August
11, 1944, when he was sent back to the United States. During the World War II he was credited with 8.5
aerial kills. After the World War II he remained in the
service with the USAF and retired in February 1970 in
the rank of Brigadier General. Lt. Col. Hayes’ aircraft
carried inscription Frenesi on the nose port side after
the then popular song Free ’n Easy. Number of missi-
ons was depicted in form of 85 little bombs painted
above the exhaust stacks. It remains unclear which
camouflage paint were used on the 357th FG aircraft.
Some veterans speak of the British colors Dark Green
and Medium Sea Gray, surviving color photographs
indicate American Olive Drab and Neutral Grey colors
theory. Noses of the 357th FG aircraft were decorated with yellow-red checkerboard, propeller spinner
was painted in the same colors.
s/n 44-13321, Maj. George Preddy Jr., 487th FS, 352nd FG,
8th AF, Bodney, United Kingdom, July 1944
In the photography taken at the end of July, there are
already 23 kill marks painted on Preddy’s aircraft
nose. The plane was already missing invasion identifying stripes on the upper side of the wing, they remained on the bottom of the wing and fuselage. While
removing these, the European theater markings of
15-inch wide stripes on the upper side of the wing
and horizontal tail surfaces, as well as 12 inch stripe on the vertical tail surface were deleted as well.
The pilot’s name tag was added to the canopy frame.
In August 1944, Maj. Preddy was sent back to United
States for a rest. After his return in October the same
year he took command of 328th FS, part of 352nd FG.
On December 25, in vee hours when chasing Fw 190
over the front line was Preddy’s Mustang hit by the
American anti-aircraft fire. He attempted the emergency landing nearby the anti-aircraft battery but he
was fatally wounded and crashed in its vicinity.
s/n 44-13321, Maj. George Preddy, 487th FS, 352nd FG, 8th AF,
Bodney, United Kingdom, June 1944
The future fighter ace with the highest score among
all the pilots achieved on Mustang was born on February 5, 1919, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He had
completed the pilot training before the War and tried
three times to enlist in the US Navy in 1940. But he
was refused every time. Fourth time he tried to enlist
in the USAAC and was accepted in 1940. He completed
the fighter training consequently and, assigned to
49th PS, was dispatched to Australia. Flying P-40E
in the defense of Darwin he was credited with two
Japanese airplanes damaged. In July 1942, after
the mid-air collision during the training flight, he
was wounded and sent back to the United States.
As of September 1943, his next combat assignment
awaited him in Europe with 352nd FG, where he was
flying P-47 Thunderbolts providing cover for heavy
bombers of the 8th AF. In April, the unit converted to
P-51 Mustangs. In June, the war photographer snapped Maj. Preddy’s aircraft sporting seventeen kills
painted on the aircraft nose in the form of the white crosses. The aircraft lacked any camouflage and
sported the blue-painted nose, same as other 352nd
FG aircraft. The fuselage and wings were still carrying so-called invasion stripes.