About Chris

Chris Bucholtz has been writing about aviation for 10 years, and his work has appeared in Flight Journal, Veterans Magazine and Air Enthusiast. His first book, 332nd Fighter Group: Tuskegee Airmen came out in 2007, and his next book, 4th Fighter Group: Debden Eagles came out in November 2008. He has appeared as an expert on the History Channel’s Dogfights! and helped the National Museum of the United States Air Force with markings information for its P-47D restoration. He’s currently serving as historical advisor to Lucasfilms’ “Red Tails.”

Chris is also an avid scale modeler, serving as managing editor of the IPMS/USA Journal and aviation editor of Internet Modeler. he was the chairman of the 1998 IPMS/USA National Convention and contest, is the Regional Coordinator for the IPMS’ Far West Region (Region 9) and is a vice president of Silicon Valley Scale Modelers.  A technology journalist by trade, Chris is the Editor of Forecasting Clouds and lives with his wife Elizabeth in Alameda, California.

59 Comments

  1. Chris – recently, I learned from my Grandmother that her brother – Arthur Grant Sylvester from Utah County, Utah – was a P-47 pilot during WWII and was killed during one of his missions. He was apparently shot down over Metz, France on Oct. 26, 1944. His obituary stated he had received the purple heart and air medal. He was in the 378th fighter squadron of the 362nd fighter group, aircraft serial number: 42-28295.

    I’m still shocked that my family never talked about him or even told us grandkids that we had a great uncle killed in WWII. Especially seeing how we have four pilots in the family – 2 with military careers . . .

    Anyway, where can I try to find out information about my great uncle?? I have no idea about his service record, how many missions he flew, etc. Additionally, any profiles, images, etc. of this particular aircraft (or of any of the 378th FS aircraft) would be greatly appreciated as well.

    Thank you for reading – my family and I really appreciate it.

    Jim

    • Chris – its been about a year but I did want to follow-up from your earlier email. I now have some photos of Grant Sylvester and the MACR. The MACR does indeed say that Grant Sylvester was shot down over Metz, France in October of 1944. Likely cause was flak from nearby ground targets. There were no witnesses. He was in a four-ship that day and his wingman reported that he lost sight of Grant when he began his bomb run down through the low clouds.

      Anyway, if you are interested in seeing the pictures just let me know and provide an email address. Any progress on decals and the book?

      Thanks.

      • This is my husband’s uncle, I would love to see these pictures also! I know it has been along time but I am taking a change, thanks!

    • Gerald Pantoliano, father Thomas Pantoliano If you have seen any photo’s 362nd under Colonel Laughlin’s group I went to many group reunions and have a bunch of photos

  2. Jim–

    I’m writing about the 362nd for Osprey – not sure which series, or if it will be a stand-alone volume – but my manuscript was actually open on my desktop when I got word of your comment. What I have on Art Sylvester is:

    “On Oct. 26, 1944, the 378th cut rail lines south of Metz near Abbecourt, then bombed rail yards at Courcelles; Arthur G. Sylvester was hit and had to abandon his plane, but returned to the squadron safely. The 379th was also supposed to attack Courcelles, but the target was socked in, so they bombed through overcast over Saarbrucken.”

    That bit of data is from “Andy” Anderson’s “Blood Sweat and Fears.” which is not only a great memoir but also corrects much of the official record of the group. The official documents are great, but they’re contemporary – and often riddled with errors and assumptions.

    If your uncle was killed that day – and I’ll double check the records when I get home tonight – I’ll make the change. If he was killed elsewhere – in an accident, for example – I’d really like to know that and include it in my history of the group.

    As for resources, the first stop should be “Mogin’s Maulers,” the history of the 362nd as compiled by its men. This is available now in paperback for $30 (I paid $80 for my hardback version through a rare book dealer!) at 5conners@prodigy.net. The next step would be to search for the Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) for your uncle; his report number is 9629 (my apologies – I don’t have this report). This site:

    http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/faq/MACR.htm

    Can get you the report for your uncle’s loss.

    I’m working on creating a database of some basic stuff on 362nd FG planes for the purposes of creating decals for scale models and for the profiles for the Osprey book. I’ll get that online sometime soon, when I’m not otherwise swamped. There are markings out there for 12 362nd FG planes in 1:72, and if I can funnel my data to the right people there will be more soon.

    From my perspective, if you can supply any information about your uncle – photos, anecdotes, the REAL story of how he was lost in World War II – I would really appreciate it! If he did evade and was then later lost, I think that needs to be part of the record!

    –Chris

    • Chris – its been about a year but I did want to follow-up from your earlier email. I now have some photos of Grant Sylvester and the MACR. The MACR does indeed say that Grant Sylvester was shot down over Metz, France in October of 1944. Likely cause was flak from nearby ground targets. There were no witnesses. He was in a four-ship that day and his wingman reported that he lost sight of Grant when he began his bomb run down through the low clouds.

      Anyway, if you are interested in seeing the pictures just let me know and provide an email address. Any progress on decals and the book?

      Thanks.

      • Jim–

        That would be stupendous! My actual email is bucholtzc (at) aol.com – I’d love to see them!

      • I would also love photos of Grant Sylvester, he was my Grand-Uncle and I am putting together a genealogical history book for my children and grandchildren. My son was injured in an IED explosion in Afghanastan and received a purple heart, he is so very interested in the military stories of his ancestors. My Uncle Wallace Barney was shot down over the Pacific. Thank you in advance, Carol

  3. Dear Chris, this is to let you know that two pilots of the 362nd Fighter Group were lost on a strafing mission against military columns in then Czechoslovakia on April 29 (2/Lt Turner) and April 30, 1945 (1/Lt Kirkham). Could you please let me know whether there are particular mission reports? I would like to compare these t olocal records. You can contact me directly at the address mentioned above.
    Thank you. Kind regards, Filip Vojtasek, Czech Republic.

  4. My e-mail address is filip.vojtasek[@]aip.cz

  5. Hi Chis,
    When I read your comments about Footnote.com I went and immediately signed up. I have spent endless hours reading their MACRs. Thanks for overloading my life! I learned that some MACRs such as that for Robert Doty (crashed near Bastogne) must have been removed after the pilot returned from crashing within friendly lines. On a different subject regarding the 362nd Fighter Group. I see that Colonel Laughlin’s P-47 now at the U.S.A.F. museum is a bubbletop with George Rarey’s nose art. Is that not inconsistent with the timeline of Rarey’s death in June, 1944 before the introduction of bubbletop models? Would not Rarey’s nose art only be on razorbacks?
    Thanks,
    Dave Graham
    Hilliard, Ohio

    • Dave–

      The secret to the SEVEN “Five by Fives” having the same nose art was that the cowling was removed and moved from plane to plane (and stripped, and then having the surrounding trim colors painted around the elephant art). Joe Carpenter was given this task and he told me that was the case. I’ve since discovered other cases – “Lil’ Herbie” of the 366th (flown by Herb Stachler) came in both OD and natural metal “flavors” for the same reason!

  6. Chris,

    My grand-father Lt. Ken McCleary was the pilot of the Wheelboy. You asked about any pictures I might have for your book project. Yes, I have pictures and I would give you copies, no problem. Please contact me at the e-mail address I have given. Thanks, Sean.

  7. Chris. I just located this website, am I correct, are you currently writing a book on the 362nd Fighter Group? My father ( deceased ) was a pilot in the 379th squadron. I have his personal diary and Pilots Log. I would be very interested in reading a book on the 362nd. I do have my fathers copy of Mogins Maulers. If you could use any info from my fathers diary and/or Pilots Log, let me know.

  8. Chris, I just located this website, am I correct, are you currently writing a book on the 362nd Fighter Group? My father ( deceased ) was a pilot in the 379th Squadron. I have his personal diary and Pilots Log. I would be very interested in reading a book on the 362nd. I do have my fathers copy of Mogins Maulers. If you could use any info from my fathers diary and/or Pilots Log, let me know

    • Stan–

      I absolutely would love to see this. You may know this, but a HUGE section of the 379th’s records are simply gone from the Air Force’s records, and your father’s log might just help fill in some of the blanks. The diary would be gravy – I want this to be about the people who made up the unit and being able to include his words would be an invaluable addition.

      If you want to see the manuscript as it stands, let me know…!

    • Dear Stan, I am interested in strafing missions of U.S. air forces in then Czechoslovakia during WWII. Could you please let me know whether your father made any note on locations he attacked in April and May 1945? Please contact me at filip.vojtasek[@]aip.cz
      Thank you. Kind regards, Filip

      • Filip, I tried to respond to your e-mail address but it would not go through for some reason. Anyway I could not help you, my father was honorably discharged in Sept of 1944. Sorry- Stan Moore

  9. Chris, Yes I would love to see the current manuscript. If you have the first edition of Mogins Maulers, my father is pictured on page 439D. Just an interesting sidenote, instead of having a name,picture etc. painted on the side, if you look closely at the nose of the propeller, he had it painted like a candy cane, so when he started the engine it looked like a barber pole turning. Yes you are correct about the records of the 379th are gone, so I will figure out a way to get you the info in the pilot log/diary. They cover thirty missions before he was honorably discharged

  10. Chris,

    I just discovered this site this evening and wanted to introduce myself. I knew Bob “Dudge” Doty before his passing in ’99. He gave me a photo of himself in front of his a/c and also told me about George Rarey. I also had a chance to exchange emails with Damon Rarey before his passing. He was kind enough to sign a copy of his book that contained the sketch diary that his father made during his time with the sqdn. It is one of my most cherished possessions. I assume you have seen these sketches? I also painted a leather jacket commemorating George and Bobs legacy. I wold be happy to send pics if you are interested. Or, if there is any other contribution I can make to honor these men please let me know!
    Sincerely,
    Steve

    • Steve–

      Thanks for the introduction! I have seen George’s sketches; Damon was kind enough to make large-format color copies of many of them for me. I hope to use them as the basis for many, many more models in the future.

      Would it be possible to share that photo of Bob? I corresponded with him briefly in the two years before his passing – a very nice fellow!

      • I sure can. I’ll make hi-res scans and send them over.

        I also have a photo of Bob at one of the reunions. They are currently in my display case next to models of Dudge, Damon’s Demon and Five by Five. I’ll also include a few pics of the leather jacket art as well.

        What address would you like these sent to?

      • Send ’em to my address — bucholtzc (at) aol.com. Thanks!!

  11. Chris, if you are still interested in my fathers Pilot Log/Diary entries, ( 379th Fighter Sq.) let me know where to send them. Per your previous reply to my post, I was not sure if you were going to respond by asking me where you could send your current manuscript to me and then where I could send the Pilot Log to you. Anyway, let me know and I will send the info to you.

  12. Our Uncle, 2nd LT F.W. “Mike” Turner flew with the 362 (377 FS) P47’s and was shot down 10 days prior to the end of the war. He walked out of the woods survived and emerged from the woods in CZ. not knowing the war had ended. Mike was later killed in a P51 while flying reserves after the war. He was 26.
    We are trying to compile all that we can about Mike’s War experiences from my aunt, his only surviving sibling. I will gladly share our findings if anyone is interested.
    Also we would appreciate and photos etc that contain Mike or information about Mike.
    His two older brothers Steve and Bob Turner also flew fighters in the European Theatre.
    Regards,
    Ed “Turner51” Sabol

    • Ed–

      My manuscript contains this for April 29, 1945:

      16 planes from the 379th dive-bombed the railroad bridge at Ireich. The bombs were dropped from high altitude, and no results were observed. The 377th attacked rail targets; Green Flight’s fourth aircraft had to leave formation before the section bombed because it was low on fuel, and when the three planes hit the yards, one aircraft was damaged by its own bomb blast. Lt. “Mike” Turner, flying P-47D-28-RE 44-19925, reported to his flight leader that he was bellying the fighter in. Turner made it out of his damaged plane and evaded in the woods for 10 days in Czechoslovakia; only after he made contact with American troops did he learn that the war had ended. In addition, the group had four Thunderbolts damaged on the ground. Lt. Paul Hayes of the 377th was forced to belly-land P-47D 44-32772 at Nurnburg. Capt. Richard Cline suffered a minor accident in P-47D 44-33668 at Frankfurt, and Lt. William Peterson in P-47D 44-33745 and Lt. Robert Dunham in P-47D 44-20281 both incurred damage while landing at Herzonenaurach.

      If you need the Missing Aircrew Report (MACR), let me know and I’ll get a copy for you.

  13. My grandfather’s flight log listed him with the 377th. We have some 8mm film of his that is suppose to be of him flying during combat. We are nervous to even open the tins as we have heard the film may be deteriorating. I am hoping to receive them from my grandmother in the next few weeks and was wondering if you have suggestions on preserving the film. I have just begun my research into his military career as he passed when I was younger. I have a newspaper article from June 22, 1944 (Hartford, Connecticut) that places him with the Mogin Mauler’s as he describes a dive bombing mission on April 14, 1944. I am trying to locate his P-47 serial number in hopes that can lead me to more information. His name was Lt. Joseph A. Lane. Any info you may have would be great and suggestions on the film as well.

    • Melissa –

      Your grandfather shared in the destruction of a Do 217 bomber on the ground in March, 1944, with Col. Morton Magoffin being the other participant in destroying the plane. I don’t have much else, but I could certainly use the info in his log book to further flesh out the story of the 379th Fighter Group!

      I’ll ask the archivist at the USAF Museum, Brett Stolle, about the film. Ideally, you should be able to stabilize the film enough to make a digital copy; if Brett has any suggestions, or if the local photography experts have any ideas, I’ll pass them on to you! I would love to see some of that film – it would probably answer any questions you might have about his plane.

      • Chris –

        Thank you for the information you had to share with me about my grandfather. I have copies of his flight logs dated from 5-26-44 to 8-27-44. I hope by tuesday to have the rest of his logs. What is the best way to send them to you? I have also come across a letter of commendation from Brigadier Weyland to Col. Magoffin dated June 24, 1944 in regards to achievements of the 377th mission on June 24, 1944. I have Col. Magoffin’s response as well listing Capt. T.H. Benson, 1st LT. J.A. Lane (my grandfather) and 1st Lt. F.L. Humphries for their “aggressivness and skillful leadership”. I can send this as well if you would like to have it. I still have not been able to locate his serial number but I know his P-47 was “E4*P”. Thanks again for your help.

      • Melissa-

        You can send copies to my address — 541 Taylor Ave., Alameda, CA 94501. That’s probably the best way – and I can send them back after I’ve added their contents to the narrative! And the other documents are really helpful, too. There’s nothing like contemporary accounts to fill in the historical record. Thank you – I truly appreciate your generosity.

  14. Hello Chris,

    I cannot find your email address on here anywhere. 🙂 You have linked to Mynard Cowles website here and the URL is about to change. I will send it to you when it does.

    I would like to ask the following:

    I have been on a quest since 1999 to track down a specific markings of a P-47. Specifically a P47D-30-RA that served with the 9th AF 362nd FTR GRP 378th FTR SQD Serial number 44-33116, it would have had a Blue cowling lettered “G8” before the roundel but I need the last letter aft the roundel – fuselage code. I even have the serial numbers of the machine guns from the MACR but I cannot determine the final letter. The pilot was my Great Uncle Maynard L. Cowles.

    44-33116 P-47D-30-RA 362nd 378th G8-? MACR 12880 – 03/03/45 vers Nord Ingelheim (All.) – Pilote : Maynard L. Cowles – KIA – Flak

    I am working on a memorial for Maynard and I want to commission an art piece, that final letter is all I am missing. Any ideas on where to look? Thanks in Advance! Mike

    • I wish I could help, Mike. If I could find that information, I’d be in hog heaven. Unfortunately, details like these weren’t often preserved and what data I have I’ve re-assembled comes from photos.
      I’m working on the same stuff for the family of Ken Kitts, by the way. It’s not easy!

    • Oh – and my e-mail is bucholtzc (at) aol (dot) com. Thanks for the link update!

    • I have been trying to find information about my uncle who passed away when I was young. Lt. Edward Eshbaugh 362 FG 378 FS was in France 1944-45. While searching his name, I found he filed the Missing in Action report witness statement for Lt. Maynard Cowles. I am trying to locate a copy of Mogin’s Maulers.

      • Hi L Bates, Please contact me at mike@f4ucorsair.com. I think I may be able to help you.

      • Lt. Eshbaugh was in on the big Jan. 22, 1945 mission when the 378th destroyed 90 trucks, seven tanks, five horse-drawn vehicles and seven half-tracks. Lt. Richard Law was hit and was able to belly-land his Thunderbolt within friendly lines, and Lt. Eshbaugh brought his damaged plane back to Etain, landing on one wheel.

      • I would be interested in any information anyone could provide on Lt. Edward Eshbaugh, as he is my grandfather. He passed away when my father was young and I am trying to learn more for my father.

  15. I was reading throught your posts and saw that you mentioned Herb Stachler. Herb is a great friend of ours and at 92 (birthday Dec. 14) he is still going strong. In fact, we are having dinner with him tonight! Herb enjoys flying with my wife and I in our Wacos. He has brought countless photos, his uniform and even his leather flying jacket down to show everyone. He is truly a living treasure who flew 102 combat missions in his
    P-47 “Lil Herbie”.

    • Tell him “Hi” for me the next time you see him! I have a very good friend who is very eager to produce a decal sheet with “Lil’ Herbie” as one of the subjects – and I’m very eager to build it!

  16. Hi Chris –

    This is Mary (I work the website War Tales for Don Moore and I am logged in under his name). I’m listed under his “Living History” page.

    If you’re interested in a fascinating Tuskegee Airman story, here it is: http://donmooreswartales.com/2010/03/21/last-of-the-7-bailey-brothers-was-tuskegee-airman/

    You’ve got a wonderful site here and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.

    Best regards,

    Mary A.

  17. Hi Chris,
    My Uncle, LT. Jack K. McMahon was shot down strafing a German Artillery unit Jan 22 1945, is there any reference to Jack in your fathers diary?
    Thank you,
    Jim

    • Hi, Jim!

      My dad wasn’t in the war – he was born perhaps as a result of it, but he’s only 65! I do have the manuscript to my book, which has a couple of references to him. He had an accident on October 8 during takeoff for a mission, and he was one of the men lost during the extremely costly missions of Jan. 22. He was mentioned in my article in Flight Journal magazine last year on the 362nd at the Battle of the Bulge.

      • My Aunt, Bonnie McMahon, wife of Uncle Jack’s brother Don penned a very large piece about the History of Lt. Jack McMahon from Childhood through the war, what his last mission was and where he was shot down Jan. 22nd 1945, and what his last words were after he was hit while Strafing a German Artillery unit during the battle of the Bulge.
        I was fortunate enough to obtain a piece of Uncle Jacks P-47 through a contact Bonnie made in Luxembourg where Jacks plane was shot down. Apparently this guy was commissioned by the US Army to locate as many downed air craft as he could from WW11. He found Jacks plane on a small farm in Lux, I contacted him and he was gracious enough to send me a 6″ piece of the plane which I will cherish my entire life.
        I always wanted to see Jacks foot locker as it contained many of Jacks belongings from the war. My cousin has it, but did not want to send it for some unknown reason, I would have loved to just touch some of Jacks stuff and return it in a short amount of time but was never fortunate enough to have that happen.
        I am trying to purchase some of the items, Pins, patches etc. Jack might have been issued, they are available on some of the on line auction sites. If you have any idea or photos of what they might be I would love to see them so I can purchase pieces for the display I have which includes Jacks photo and the plane piece.
        Best regards,
        Jim McMahon

      • One more thing. How do I get a copy of the Flight Journal you mentioned?
        Thanks

      • Never mind Chris, I figured out with my brilliant and tallented brain, not, how to locate the Flight Journal article.

      • Hello Jim, if you are still looking for patches of your relative/friends unit , I could make you a Leather one of it , $50.00 total including postage, contact me for sample photos/etc , thanks!
        Johnny
        WeBeEmblems(at)aol(dot)com

      • Johnny — could you send me an e-mail at bucholtzc@aol.com? I’m actually in the market for a patch for my A-2 from the 362nd FG; I have photos of the patches Joe Carpenter painted in France, and was just hoping to find someone who could reproduce them…

  18. My uncle was lost on 4-1-44. Do you have any info on what the 362nd was doing that day? thanks

    Lt. Elmer D Rydberg, 362nd Fighter Squadron. P-51B 43-6629 G4-# “Little Lady”. Lt. Rydberg’s name can be seen just in front of the cockpit. He was lost in this a/c on 1 April 1944 in severe weather conditions along with his element leader Capt. Perron in “Little Bitch”.

    • According to Harry Ankeny’s diary, that was supposed to be a fighter sweep over France and into the Ruhr Valley in conjunction with a bombing raid hitting Frankfurt at the same time. The only plane from the 357th that managed to break out of the heavy clouds that day was the radio relay ship, which broke clear at 35,000 feet. Once the mission was officially scrubbed, the pilots felt their way home in ones and twos, popping out of the clouds at low altitude over England, and then having to duck British barrage balloons all the way home.

  19. I see mention of my grand uncle Chester Kusi, who was killed on 1/22/44. Wondering where you were able to locate that information because I’ve been trying to find some myslef and would love to have any info you do on him. Thanks for keeping their memories alive.

    • I have just a little on him, from official records and from “Mogin’s Maulers.” I’ll keep hunting, though!

      • Thanks so much, I appreciate it. IS that Mogan’s Maulers a book?

  20. Hi Chris! Thanks for your stories about the Pierce Winningham McKennon and fellow pilots. He is a cousin of our’s but we never got a chance to meet him. What a life he lead! How were able to include actual quotes? Really great! If you have any tips for additional source material….we would be so grateful! Do you mind if I include your stories in our Ancestry records, crediting you, with a link to your site? Thanks again! Jen

    • Jen–

      The direct quotes come from reports Pierce made during his time with the 4th Fighter Group. If a pilot scored a victory, witnessed a victory, or saw a fellow flyer go down, his testimony became part of the report on that incident. That meant an awful lot of written reports from Pierce!

      Please do link to the site – I appreciate it! This is all meant for public consumption!

  21. Hello Chris,

    My Dad is James W. Nance who is mentioned in your article “the 362nd FG’s mission of mercy”. He actually was captured a few days after being shot down on December 18 and was a POW for 5 months at Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany. He turned 90 this year and I believe he qualifies for the Distinquished Flying Cross. Any additional information to that end that you could provide to me would be very helpful.

    Thank you.

    Carl Nance

  22. Hi Chris,

    I am producing an educational interactive timeline of the Strategic Bombing Campaign for the American Battle Monuments Commission. I wanted to see if we could incorporate photographs from your website into the interactive as visual accompaniment to the history of the 357th Fighter Group.

    Please let me know if you have any questions about our project.

    Thanks,

    Sarah

  23. Chris,

    My Father Allen G. Kinne was in the 377th and is currently 91. I have several photos of both he and his plane the “New Yorker” with AG on the Nose if you would like scans. He earned the DFC, Air Medal (16 awards). Thanks,

    Jeffry Allen Kinne

  24. Your model of the F2A-3 Buffalo flown by William Humberd at the Battle of Midway was my father’s brother. Uncle Bill was a stand up kind of guy. After the war and his retirement from the Marines (Lt. Colonel) he went into business for himself, operating a bakery for many years. He and his wife Virginia raised a wonderful family consisting of their own children and a foster child. What an awesome experience to see Uncle Bill remembered.

    Thank you,
    Jim Humberd

  25. Hi! I know a crash – site of a p47d of the 378th squadron of the 362nd fighter group. The plane crashed on 28th June 1945 during bad weather conditions at a routine-flight. The pilot was 2nd Lt.James W. Noland. I’m interested in further information especially about the plane, the pilot and why he crashed and about the aftermath of this crash. What happened after? I ve found no records. Can you help me? I’ve found some parts of the plane. After 71 years on the ground they are still there.


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