What’s inside Volume II
European Theatre of Operation
Pilot Officer Claude “Weavy” Weaver – The Youngest Allied Fighter Ace
Major Pierce “Mac” McKennon – 4th Fighter Group Ace
Flight Lieutenant Claybourne “Alabama” Waldrop – AWOL From the US Army for 5.24 Years
Pacific Theatre of Operation
Captain Donald Nathan Aldrich – The Fifth Highest Scoring USMC Ace
There was no mistaking that Major Pierce Winningham “Mac” McKennon was a native of the state of Arkansas. He flew several fighters which carried distinctive names and artwork. His most famous and colourful mount was a red-nosed P-51D Mustang serial number 44-72308 which he named “Ridge Runner III”. Beneath the name there was an illustration of a tusky Arkansas razorback hog chasing twenty German swastikas. These kill markings were painted black on a white square and were outlined in red. Also trimmed in red was his canopy frame, the aircraft’s letters WD-A and two Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfire rear view mirrors which were mounted side by side on top of the canopy windscreen frame.
Serving two tours over a twenty-six month period, Major McKennon amassed 560 combat flight hours in the European Theatre of Operation in World War II. He was shot down by flak on two occasions, evaded both times and, after each evasion, managed to return to flight status. Mac finished the war with 21.68 enemy aircraft destroyed (12 aerial and 9.68 ground) and became a Squadron Commanding Officer for the last eight months of the conflict.
Not too bad for a young man who washed out of the flying training program with the United States Army Air Corps. Certainly not too bad for a twenty-one year old university student who came to Canada, won his wings in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), lost them in a court martial then, unbelievably, won them a second time!
McKennon flew with the 335th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). The 4th, known as the “Debden Eagles”, flew from Station F-356 in Essex, England and became the highest scoring USAAF Fighter Group in World War II, accounting for 1016 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air and on the ground.
The Americans flocked to Canada in droves in 1940-41 to enlist and by the conclusion of the European war on May 8, 1945, no fewer than 8,864 US citizens had served part or all of their air force careers in the RCAF.
I devoured your book. Loved it immensely. Am in awe of your research and attention to detail. Can’t wait for Volume II.
Well, sir. Your book arrived yesterday and I’m already halfway through it! Absolutely brilliant stories of a portion of our history that is, at least on this side of the border, are almost completely forgotten. Can't wait for Volume II
I have received my copy of American RCAF Warriors and it doesn't disappoint--Tom has done a terrific job assembling these histories in a very interesting style and format--well worth it for any aficionado's collection of RCAF and BCATP history!
If you are a fan of the 4th Fighter Group from WW II then this book is a must read. Though the author takes and gives credit to previous books, he expands on where those books had weaknesses, such as the history of the pilots upbringing and where they were raised. He does this through research and first person interviews with family members and aquaintances. The motivation of why some of these pilots joined the Royal Canadian Air Force is the main focus of this book. It's an easy read and gives a fresh perspective to what could be deemed an old subject of fighter pilot history from World War II. There are also many stories not related to the 4th and those are interesting as well.
Tom reminds us in a personal, most informative way that Canadians were supported early in the war effort by thousands of Americans who were under no obligation to do so. They were either rejected or not eligible to serve in the USAAF at the time, but were determined to help defeat the growing Nazi movement. Canadians and Americans alike will appreciate the tales of bravery and sacrifice of neighbours helping neighbours in their hour of need.
Tom Walsh has crafted a very fine account of several US citizens who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force prior to the US entry into the war. His research into the lives and motivations of these men has been meticulous. Walsh describes the background of these men and details their enlistment and training in the service of Canada. He provides details of their service in the RCAF and continues their stories after their separation from the Canadian air force. He makes good use of photographs to enhance his stories. I look forward to subsequent volumes and the stories of additional warriors who, for the most part, wore the uniforms of two countries during World War II.
About the author
Tom Walsh has been interested in World War II aviation history all his life. For over forty years, he worked as a producer and consultant in the North American air show industry.
Now retired, he spends his free time researching and writing the untold stories of some of the 8,864 Americans who served part or all of their Air Force careers in the RCAF in World War II.
American RCAF Warriors is an ongoing series with Volumes I & II published with Volumes III and IV to be available in the future.