World War II

The honor of being the first USAAC squadron equipped with the Bell P-39 Airacobra belongs to the 39th Pursuit Squadron, Selfridge Field, Michigan, 1941.
Lt. Charles W. King
with his P-39 "Cobra" 1941
"Cobra In The Clouds"

Second Lt. Charles King graduated from cadets, class 41-D, and joined the 39th at Selfridge Field in June 1941. With the squadron he shipped overseas to Australia in Jan 1942 aboard the USS Ancon. After arriving in Port Moresby, New Guinea, he flew 201 combat sorties in P-39s and P-38s, and in the process shot down five Jap aircraft to become an Ace. Major King assumed command of the 39th Squadron from Tommy Lynch, just in time to lead most of the Rabaul missions. Before leaving in December 1943, he checked the squadron out in the newly acquired P-47 Thunderbolts and moved the squadron "over the hill" to Nadzab.
     Completing his tour of duty and returning Stateside, Major King was assigned to command the initial jet fighter training squadron, in the first US jet equipped Group. In the Spring of 1945 he returned to the Fifth Air Force HQ. He became a part of the operations staff and served in the Philippines and Okinawa until WWII ended. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and "worked his way" back to flying F-51 Mustangs with the 49th Fighter Group in Japan, and then commanded the 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron equipped with RF-80 jets.
     Lt. Col. King returned to Selfridge and Oscoda Air Base, flying F-80 and F-86 jet fighters as a squadron commander and later as commander of Oscoda AFB. He was promoted to full Colonel in 1951 and served briefly in HQ, Air Defense Command, before his assignment to the 4th Fighter Wing in Korea. During his tour in Korea, Charlie had not forgotten his early combat skills from WWII and, using his own words, nicked a couple of Mig fighters before they escaped across the Chinese border."

Lt. Ralph C. Carey,
Pope Field, SC 1941

No other information available.

Sgt. Otto E. Neumann, Crew Chief
Pope Field, SC 1941
The first Lockheed P-38 Lightnings in combat in the Southwest Pacific belonged to the 39th Fighter Squadron. Scoring against the enemy ran their score of kills up and over 100 by May of 1943. Their destinctive "sharks' mouth" painted Lightnings reflect their confidence.
Aces of the 39th Squadron, 1943
front - "Sully" O'Sullivan, Tommy Lynch, Ken Sparks
back - Dick Suehr, "Shady" Lane, Stan Andrews
Thomas J. Lynch, an agressive combat pilot, tactician and squadron leader
Tommy Lynch, a rising star of the Pacific War. Score 10 and rising
Bob Faurot has the honor of downing the first Zero with a P-38 - without firing a shot. A Zero taking off to intercept from the Lae, New Guinea air strip flew through the concussion of Bob's 500 pound bomb blast and "pan caked" into the ocean just beyond. Bob didn't hesitate collecting the Air Medal promised by General Kenney for the first P-38 kill.
Capt. Robert L. Faurot, a
dedicated and fearless pace setter.
Bob Faurot moved his top hatted skull motif from his P-39 lucky #13 to his P-38 # 16. A 5/6 model of Bob's P-38 is on display at the "Air Zoo" in Kalamazoo, MI
Tommy Lynch, commander of the 39th Squadron at age 21.
Lunch break for ground crew, 14 Mile Drome, Port Moresby, New Guinea
Lt. William B. Rogers, Jug Pilot
Cpl. Roy Seher, Crew Chief, age 19
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was a rugged bird, but very short on range. Being equipped with "the Jug" in December 1943 effectively took the 39th Squadron out of the war until, with Charles Lindbergh's help, it's range was greatly extended.
Capt. Lee Grosshuesch, 39th Sqdn. Commander. Three Japs downed over Formosa. January 1945
Bombing up "Preacher's Passion" for the next mission.
Luzon, PI January 1945
Team work. Preacher's Passion piloted by Bill Rogers and crewed by Roy Seher. Gusap, New Guinea 1944.