Lt. Richard Lee 'Dick' West was credited with 14 kills, 3 probables, and 1 damaged while flying
P-40s and P-38s with the 35th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group.

Apparently somewhat superstitious, after his first combat, during which he knocked down two 'Haps',
West refused to have his hair cut. Following his second encounter with the enemy, which saw him
knock down two 'Zekes' and two 'Sallys' to become the first 'ace' of the 35th Fighter Squadron and the
8th Fighter Group, he was dubbed 'The Samson of the South Pacific' by the press.



Lt. Richard Lee 'Dick' West of the 35th FS next to a P-40N.


Project 914 Archives



Another view of a somewhat tired-looking Dick West next to his P-40N at
Finschafen Airfield on the Huon Peninsula. At least six victory markings are shown here.


Robert Rocker via Replica in Scale



Hawks of the 35th FS at Cape Gloucester, New Britain on February 6th, 1944.
West's ship, serial 42-105745, coded 'Y', and named 'Lucky' is the third in line...


NARA via Fold3



A closer look...


NARA via Fold3



A couple'a 35th FS ground crew with 'Lucky'...


Project 914 Archives



Back to '35th Fighter Squadron'