Christmas Day 1944 was a 'red letter' day for the 475th Fighter Group in more ways than one. All three squadrons were airborne that day, the 431st and 432nd flying top cover for B-24s en route to Mabalacat Airdrome on Luzon while the 433rd flew a fighter sweep over nearby Dasol Bay. As the heavy bombers approached their target, 70-80 Japanese interceptors sliced through the formation. Group commander Colonel Charles MacDonald, leading sixteen P-38s of the 432nd Squadron, dove to the attack. On the first pass MacDonald shot down two Jacks. Then he saw two Zeke 52s descending through the overcast, and, as he described it: As they went over us, I did a steep chandelle to the right and came out directly behind them and a little low. The stern chase ended just south of Clark Field at about 5,000 feet when I closed on the enemy wingman and put a long burst into him, causing him to flame up and pieces fly off. The enemy pilot bailed out. During the 60-minute air battle, the 475th knocked down 26 Japanese fighters for a loss of three Lightnings, and scored their 500th aerial victory, while the 431st Squadron passed their 200th victory, the first squadron to break the double-century mark. A 'red letter' day indeed! The print measures 24x30 inches and is signed by the pilot, the artist Roy Grinnell as well as Joe Forster, Jack Purdy, John Loisel, Jack Mankin, 'Bo' Reeves, Calvin Wire, Frank Nichols, Warren Lewis, P.J. Dahl and Elliot Summer.
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