KITS 06/2022

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

June 2022

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.

INFO Eduard