By Carl Molesworth
Staffed with green USAAF pilots and led through a handful of pro veterans of the yankee Volunteer workforce (AVG), the twenty third FG was once shaped within the box at Kunming, in China, on July four, 1942 and flew strive against missions that very same day. The teams 3 squadrons - the 74th, seventy fifth and 76th Fighter Squadrons - have been at first outfitted with war-weary P-40s passed down from the AVG. those have been supplemented by way of the connected sixteenth FS, flying new P-40Es, and all squadrons embellished the noses in their airplanes with fearsome and iconic sharksmouth designs.
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Extra info for 23rd Fighter Group: Chennaults Sharks
Soon thc 5rh FC ACW would move ro hihkiang, lcaving rhe 23rd FC ro hold Z G1 Col 'Tex' Hill, CO of the 23rd FG, took one of the first P-51Bs (43-124051 as his personal aircraft and named it BULLFROG I. Assigned for service to the 74th FS, it carried the tail number '11' and also sported a propeller spinner striped in red, white and blue. The identity of the crewman standing on the fighter's wing in this photograph is unknown (Leon Klesman) 85 LU > Maj Charles E Griffith, commander of the 76th FS (hence the squadron patch on his flight jacket), led his :6 the line in the east.
I could almosr see rhe expression on rheJap pilor's Face as he wenr by. He was leaning Forward as iFhe had been hir. We made rhree or Four passes, and aFrer our arrack we were immediarely jumped on by rhe Zeros. Then, shordy aFrer, we gor scarrered Fending oFF rhe arracking Zeros. I didn'r see rhe bomber rhar I was credired wirh shooring down, bur I do know rhar I gor some hirs. 'The bombers proceeded ra Kunming wirhour mosr of rheir escort, which ar rhar rime was keeping us busy, apparendy assuming rhar our sevenaircraFr Formarion was rhe only American opposirion.
Chi-Co, expected to start at any time, would work its way down the Hsiang River valley from Hankow toward the 23rd FG bases. As soon as the enemy's barrie plan became apparent, Col Casey Vincent began planning how his 68th CW would react. After being delayed for severaJ days by bad weather, Vincent sent a force of 54 fighters and bombers to the Hankow area on 6 May 1944 with the intention of destroying Japanese supplies and equipment before they could be employed in the second phase of the advance.
23rd Fighter Group: Chennaults Sharks by Carl Molesworth