354th Fighter Group D-Day Pilot Interviews June 7th 1944 (Restored)


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The 354 FG, the “Pioneer Mustang Group,” was the first American unit to fly P-51 Mustang fighters in combat in Europe. The Group, part of the Ninth Air Force, had three Fighter Squadrons: the 353rd, 355th & 356th. On the night of D-Day, June 6th, 1944, they escorted Douglas C-47s towing paratroop gliders to Normandy. They had no previous experience with night escorts and - as you'll see - something they weren't very happy about doing.
After completing that mission they returned to their base at Boxted Airdrome & took off very early on June 7th to fly combat air patrol over the D-Day landing beaches.
These are interviews with 354 F.G. pilots filmed immediately after the morning mission, still wearing flight gear. You'll see & hear 354th F.G. CO Col. George R. Bicknel, and Squadron leaders Maj. Jack T. Bradley (353rd), Capt. Robert W. Stephens (355th) and Maj Richard E. Turner (356th), along with some of the Groups most experienced pilots. Most of them weren't identified on film, but we were able to name them using archival photos.
Live sound recording in the field was rare. There's a lot of background noise & “hum" on the original audio track, which is probably why the film wasn't, but we were able to virtually eliminate it using state of art digital processing.

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