372nd Fighter Group

407th Fighter Squadron || 408th Fighter Squadron || 409th Fighter Squadron

From 'Air Force Combat Units of World War II':

Constituted as 372nd Fighter Group on 12 October 1943 and activated on 28 October. Assigned to Fourth AF,
and later (March 1944) to Third AF. Redesignated 372nd Fighter-Bomber Group in April 1944, and 372nd
Fighter Group in June 1944. Functioned as an operational training unit. Also provided air support for
air-ground maneuvers and demonstrations, participating in the Louisiana Maneuvers in the summer
of 1944 and in similar activities in the US until after V-J Day. Primary aircraft were P-40's until
June 1945, then P-51's. Inactivated on 7 November 1945.


407th: 1943-1945
408th: 1943-1945
409th: 1943-1945


Hamilton Field, California, 28 October 1943
Portland AAB, Oregon, 7 December 1943
Esler Field, Louisiana, 29 March 1944
Pollock AAF, Louisiana, 14 April 1944
Esler Field, Louisiana, 9 February 1945
Alexandria AAF, Louisiana, 14 September - 7 November 1945


Major Francis E. Brenner, 28 October 1943
Major Darrell G. Welch, 21 December 1943
Major Joseph S. Wakefield, 4 February 1944
Major John R. Harrison, 16 February 1944
Lt.Col. Sam W. Westbrook, 3 March 1944
Lt.Col. Robert W. Stephens, 17 March 1945
Lt.Col. Jack J. Oberhansly, 30 May 1945
Colonel George R. Bickell, 6 August - 7 November 1945


American Theater




P-40N 44-7619 served with the 407th FS and survives today. More info here...

Don Taylor (Source)

Cajun Hawks

The following three photos showing a flight of seven 307th FS P-40Ns over the Louisiana countryside
came to us via Clifford Davids. He wrote a series of articles about Charles James Crysler for his blog,
Confessions of an Oral Historian, and shared a link to the first of the series on our Facebook page.

Crysler was an AAF B-25 pilot turned P-40 driver, ultimately flying with the 74th FS, 23rd FG in the CBI.
A feature about Mr. Crysler is in the works, to be included in the 23rd FG section of the site; he was a
fellow Western New Yorker, hailing from Buffalo... the city from whence all P-40s originated and which is
just 15-20 minutes from where your webmaster is tapping away on his keyboard.

Anyhoo, after his time in the CBI, Crysler returned home and, judging by these photos,
apparently served with the 407th FS, 372nd FG, presumably as an instructor.

Crysler Family via C. Davids/The Asheville Oral History Project - Larger Image

Crysler Family via C. Davids/The Asheville Oral History Project - Larger Image

Crysler Family via C. Davids/The Asheville Oral History Project - Larger Image

Royal Hawk

'Duchess of Durham VII', a P-40N flown by 408th FS instructor Captain Ralph G. 'Zack' Taylor,
who had previously flown with the 57th and 325th Fighter Groups in North Africa and Italy. All
of Taylor's ships were named 'Duchess of Durham'... unfortunately I don't know this Hawk's serial.

Neil Pugh via the 325th FG Facebook Page - Larger Image

Neil Pugh via the 325th FG Facebook Page - Larger Image

Lt. Paul G. Budesa of the 408th FS with his P-40N, 'Flaming Mame'. He had previously
flown a P-40K named 'Flamin' Mame' with the 18th Fighter Squadron in the Aleutians.

K. Budesa collection - Larger Image

A nice color shot showing a P-40N of the 408th FS... there are three possible serial numbers.
The photo is said to have been taken in Summer 1945. If so, then the serial is 44-7942, as
44-7342 was destroyed in July 1944, and 44-7842 had been delivered to the RAAF in November 1944.
I've not yet been able to make out the name on the cowling.

K. Budesa collection - Larger Image

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