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LTtruebloodMy father, Roger W. Trueblood, flew the P-38 Lightning in WWII. He was part of the 428th Squadron, in the 474th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force operating in the European Theater of Operations (ETO).  He escorted bombers, flew top cover for the D-Day invasion fleet, supported the breakout from Normandy, blew up trains, shot down 3 FW-190s, and flew dangerous ground attack missions during the Battle of the Bulge.  Also see The kid, the codger and the Christmas of ’44

After the war, he became one of the first operational jet pilots in the US, flying the P-80 Shooting Star, and in the 50s commanded an award-winning interceptor unit operating the F-86D “Saber Dog”.  He retired as a Colonel in the 1970s, after 31 years of service.

During the Summer of 1944 he wrote several pages on single-sheet stationary about his day-to-day life and flying combat missions over France.

warmwell takeoff
P-38 of the 428th FS (square on tail fin) takes off from RAF Warmwell in southern England, headed for northern France.

They start on 18 June 44, about two weeks after D-Day. And the last one is from 1 Sep.  They cover his missions in support of Allied operations in Normandy, many of which were “interdiction” attacks on railroads, truck convoys, bridges and other transportation targets in France.  There were also bomber escort and armed reconnaissance missions.

In the Summer of 2017, our family found a second batch of diary pages, and I’ve added them to this record.  It’s possible we may find more in his papers.

I have transcribed the hand-written pages, plugged in some maps and photos, and added corresponding entries from the 428th official mission logs.  Follow the links below for a 1st-person view of a key point in history as Allied forces started their race across France.

1-5 Jul | 6 Jul | 7 Jul | 8-11 Jul15-17 Jul |  18 Jul19 Jul20-21 Jul
22-23 Jul | 24-26 Jul27 Jul | 28-31 Jul | 1-4 Aug | 5 Aug6-8 Aug
9-10 Aug 11-13 Aug14 Aug15-16 Aug | 17 Aug | 18-20 Aug
21-22 Aug23 Aug | 24 Aug

more soon…

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3 thoughts on “P-38 journal

  1. Colonel Trueblood (I can’t possibly refer to him as anything other than formally) was my first fighter squadron commander as a brand new, wet behind the ears, 21 year old USAF pilot. His leadership of our F-86 squadron taught me lessons that have stuck with me all my life. He is truly one of the “greatest generation”, a breed of man we drastically need today, but sadly is missing.
    I salute you, sir…

    Like

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