Gen. Kenney and Charles Lindbergh

P-38 Lightning, New Guinea 1944, Col. Perry Dahl, pilot

P-38 Lightning, New Guinea 1944, Col. Perry Dahl, pilot

On 4 July 1944, a correspondent notified Gen. Kenney that Colonel Charles Lindbergh was in New Guinea.  Kenney did not know about it and neither did General HQ!  So the Colonel was flown to Brisbane to explain his presence.  He wanted to know more about fighter design, especially how well the 2-engine P-38 could hold up against the enemy one-engine models.

Kenney suggested they go to see MacArthur for Lindbergh’s official status paperwork.  When Mac asked the colonel what he could do for him, Kenney interrupted, he wrote in his reports:

“I said I wanted to look after him… If anyone could fly a little monoplane all the way from New York to Paris and have gas left over, he ought to be able to teach my P-38 pilots how to get more range out of their airplanes.  If he could do that, it would mean that we could make longer jumps and get to the Philippines that much quicker…”

Gen. George C. Kenney

Gen. George C. Kenney

Mac said: “All right Colonel.  I’ll just turn you over to General Kenney, but I warn you.  He’s a slave-driver.”

Kenney instructed Lindbergh that during these teachings, he was not to get himself into combat, he was a high-profile personality and a civilian!  For 6 weeks everything went well.  Lindbergh taught the pilots how to stretch their distance from 400 to 600 miles, spending most of his time with Col. Charles MacDonald’s 475th Fighter Group, Fifth Air Force.  The men became so enthusiastic, they began to talk about stretching their distance to 800 miles!

During a raid on the Japanese oil depot at Boela, on Ceram Island, a lone enemy aircraft suddenly aimed for Lindbergh, who fired a burst and the Japanese airplane went down.  Kenney was told about the incident, but being as no one claimed credit for the action, the General could pretend he never knew.

Lindbergh with the 5th Air Force

Lindbergh (l.) with the 5th Air Force, Thomas McGuire (r.)

Photo is by Teddy W. Hanks who was a member of the 433rd Squadron, 475th Fighter Group at that time.  The photos were taken on Biak Island in July 1944.  They had just returned from a combat mission to an unrecorded enemy area.  The P-38 obviously was assigned to the 431st Fighter Squadron because the propeller spinner is a solid color — apparently red. The spinners in Teddy’s squadron,  were blue and only the back half were painted.  Could very well have been McGuire’s plane, # 131, since he was assigned to the 431st at that time.

To prove the long-range capabilities, Lindbergh, Col. MacDonald, LtCol. Meryl Smith and Captain Danforth Miller headed for Palau, 600 miles north, in their P-38’s.  While strafing an enemy patrol boat, Japanese pilots went air-borne and Lindbergh discovered that once an enemy airplane was on his tail – he could not shake it.  Luckily, he was traveling with 3 experts who downed the Japanese before they got him.

But, there was never to be a ‘next time.’  Kenney felt the celebrity was pushing his luck and Lindbergh agreed; he also had taught the pilots all he could.  As long as the war on, he would not mention his combat experiences.  Colonel Charles Lindbergh headed back for home.

Information taken from “General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War” by George C. Kenney

Click on images to enlarge.

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Aviation Humor – 

What a hairy situation !!

What a hairy situation !!

On A WINDY Day !!

On A WINDY Day !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

aviation-humor

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ted Acker – Wooster, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Joan Carby – Bolton, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, radio operator cemetary-flag-bench-final-2-72-res

Milton DeVries – Grandville, MI; US Army, WWII

Charles Eby Jr. – Kensington, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot / Korea

Guy Hunter Jr. – Atlanta, GA; US Army, WWII

Max Lyons – Tasmania, AUS; RA Navy # H2578

Donald Minnich – Virginia Bch., VA; US Navy (Ret. 26 yrs.), WWII, Korea & Vietnam, USS Pine Island

Phyllis Paul – New Westminister, BC, CAN; RC Medical Corps, WWII, ETO

Harold Rothbard – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, B-17 tail gunner

Herbert Sweney – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 7650, WWII

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on November 28, 2016, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 97 Comments.

  1. A CBS “Sunday Morning” reporter said today (Dec. 11) that Astronaut John Glenn told him he was one of the pilots flying in combat with Lindbergh. Glenn later did some test work for Lindbergh but said he did not know him personnally.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for that informative post gp, new a bit of Lindberghs aviation history and exploits, but never knew his role assisting the Military aviation, a very remarkable man considering he came under fire as a Civilian.
    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hello gp cox its dennis the vizsla dog hay i like that gif of the airplayn it seems like the rite wind kondishuns kan mayk enny playn a vertikal taykoff playn eh??? ok bye

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had never heard about Lindbergh training the pilots during the war. He seemed to have had some close calls so Lucky Lindy was a good name for him.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pretty fascinating stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lindy was one of those iconic characters from the pages of history. Great post;

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for writing a great blog GP

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was unaware of these events . It re-kindles my faith in Lucky Lindy again . I was discouraged about his apparent Nazi support . I heard that he had a German mistress , too. That shadowed his Atlantic crossing exploit earlier on ; but to know he was still a true patriot is important to know .

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for presenting some little known facts about Charles Lindbergh, his involvement in the Pacific, teaching pilots to stretch the distance from 4oo to 600, and his hair raising flight, all things I did not know about Lindbergh. I am also fascinated by your reader’s comments. I would really love to know what Lindbergh’s method was to extend the distance. Could you elaborate on this a little, GP?

    Like

  10. I couldn’t take my eyes off the “hairy situation” GIF 😉

    Like

  11. Interesting . . . had not heard about it before and did some additional reading:
    http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/lindbergh2.htm

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great story! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Another WWII favorite plane.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I enjoyed this story and the information

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Interesting post, and news to me that “Lucky Lindy” flew combat missions.
    Even if deeply flawed, I don’t think he can just be defined by his anti-Semitism or coziness with the Fascists. And people forget the post-WWI generation included a lot of antiwar folks, many especially suspicious of interventionism, having learned of war profiteering through Congressional investigations, and of large-scale propaganda efforts in the U.S. by foreign powers, most notably, the British government.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You bring up valid points, Robert and I can assure you that the regular readers of this site are just looking for all the truthful facts of this war. One of my mottoes has always been that History must be remembered, even if we don’t like what we hear. It should not ever be erased. [as some people try to do with the Confederate flag]. Lucky Lindy was as human as any one of us and people today must take into consideration that was a different time, a different world and we must learn from it – not judge it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Those gifs were hilarious GP.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Most of what I know about Charles is from reading his wife’s, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, works. This is a new story! He was certainly a patriotic fellow.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow. Excellent post. Quite interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Also, Lindbergh does not get a very good press over here either. I checked on Wikipedia which says…”“Lindbergh specifically opposed military aid to assist England in 1939…. Lindbergh argued that America did not have any business attacking Germany…. Lindbergh proposed that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany”. I’m just glad he was outnumbered by the rest of his fellow Americans!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually the majority were isolationists after WWI, in that world, his opinion was not rare. Kind of ironic actually, people thought England had stuck their nose in where it didn’t belong in Europe – and now look at the US today – sticking their nose in everywhere.

      Like

  20. That poor man! Mind you he ought to know that wind and wigs don’t mix.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow! That’s a great story, thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Very interesting post. Never knew that he helped and could see why they would have to wait till the war was over with before saying anything. Smiling at the humor section. Think he should get out of the road..lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Fascinating post! Always been interested in Charles Lindbergh.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. It is nice to read something positive about Lindbergh. He was closely associated with Nazi ideals for a time, as well as their racial theories too. Here are some links.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/lindbergh/sfeature/fallen.html
    http://www.express.co.uk/expressyourself/201613/Charles-Lindbergh-Hitler-s-all-American-hero
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22684773
    Such a shame that he tarnished his earlier reputation by associating himself with their ideas.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Great story, I had previously read about Lindbergh’s technical contribution to getting more range out of a P-38 there. The pilots implemented his tips and they got more mileage for gas.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. It’s amazing that he could get the range up from 400 to 600. Considering what that distance meant to operations, that was invaluable training.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found it amazing, I was hoping you guys thought so too. Thanks for reading it, Dan.
      (and for listening to me get a lot off my chest this morning!!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anytime – Sorry about having to moderate the links. That’s a reaction to the stuff I was writing about today. I used to allow one link without moderation. Then I saw some of the stuff that was sneaking in, and I had to change the policy. I was sad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No need to apologize. I opted to moderate all comments from the beginning to not only use it like another email, but because I figured I might get younger people here and I see no reason why the should read foul language or comments that don’t apply.

          Liked by 2 people

  27. A great post.

    The loosing his wig is funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. What I like about this story is that the smaller wars with pilots who flew over many areas are given light. Usually people overlook the sacrifices of the lesser known battles. Good context!!

    Like

    • This war was so wide-spread, it is very difficult to document them all. Researchers need to check and re-check the logs of the military all the way down to the diaries of soldiers and civilians. And, it still amazes me that with the size of the Pacific War – the European Theater overshadowed it. I suppose because so many Americans still had family over there.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. This is interesting fact. We are proud of Lindbergh although he was born in the USA had Swedish ancestors.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I enjoyed learning a little more about Lindbergh.They should have expected a guy like that would push his luck. But he taught the pilots some valuable lessons.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Another very interesting Post. Find your “Farewell Salutes” so touching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish I could do all of those I find, but I don’t think wordpress is big enough! I appreciate you reading those I do post.
      Should you have information on someone you would like remembered – just put the info in my comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Wonderful text and photos. Lindbergh is a hero of mine. Recently I was told by a Canadian friend that he was anti Semitic…do you know of anything to base that on JP?keep up the fine work. I really enjoy your detailed and intricate writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Gen. Kenney and Charles Lindbergh | BritNorAmFreedom

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