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Name: Joe D Freeland Jr Birth Year: 1923 Race: White, citizen (White) Nativity State or Country: Navarro State of Residence: Texas County or City: Navarro Enlistment Date: 2 Jul 1941 Enlistment State: Texas Enlistment City: Dallas Branch: Air Corps Branch Code: Air Corps Grade: Private Grade Code: Private Component: Regular Army (including Officers, Nurses, Warrant Officers, and Enlisted Men) Source: Civil Life Education: 4 years of high school Civil Occupation: Actors and actresses Marital Status: Single, without dependents Height: 66 Weight: 114 Save This Record

World War II Fifteenth Air Force (15th AF) was established on 1 November 1943 in Tunis, Tunisia as part of the United States Army Air Forces in the World War II Mediterranean Theater of Operations as a strategic air force and commenced combat operations the day after it was formed. The first commander was General Jimmy Doolittle. 15th AF resulted from a reorganization of Doolittle's Twelfth Air Force into the 15th with Doolittle in command, and the Ninth Air Force (9th AF) with Lewis H. Brereton in command. The new air force was activated with a strength of ninety B-24 Liberators and 210 B-17 Flying Fortresses, inherited from the Twelfth Air Force and Ninth Air Force. In December, new groups, most of which were equipped with B-24s soon started arriving from the United States. Thirteen new groups were added. It was hoped that the 15th AF stationed in the Mediterranean would be able to operate when the Eighth Air Force (8th AF) in England was socked in by bad English weather. The 9th AF would later move to England to serve as a tactical unit to take part in the invasion of Europe. Once bases around Foggia in Italy became available, the 15th was able to reach targets in southern France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Balkans, some of which were difficult to reach from England. [edit] Operational Units 5th Bombardment Wing (B-17 Flying Fortress) "Y" Tail Code Transferred from: Twelfth Air Force Headquartered: Foggia, Italy, 13 December 1943 – 2 November 1945 2d Bombardment Group "Circle-Y" 97th Bombardment Group "Triangle-Y" 99th Bombardment Group "Diamond-Y" 301st Bombardment Group "Square-Y" (Green) 463d Bombardment Group "Wedge-Y" (Yellow) 483d Bombardment Group "Y-Star" (Red) Transferred from MacDill Field, Florida, 2 March 1944 Attached: 68th Tactical Reconnaissance Group: November 1943 – April 1944 Airfields: Amendola Airfield (2d BW), Celone Airfield (463d BW), Cerignola Airfield (97th BW), Foggia (2d BW, 463d BW), Lucera Airfield (301st BW), Manduria, (68th RG), Maricianise (97th BW), Sterparone (483d BW), Torotella (99th BW, 483d BW) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 47th Bombardment Wing (B-24 Liberator) "The Pyramidiers" "Triangle" Tail Code Transferred from Ninth Air Force Headquartered: Manduria, Italy, 11 November 1943 – May 1945 98th Bombardment Group Triangle (Yellow/Black Tail Stripe) 376th Bombardment Group "Triangle Circle 2" 449th Bombardment Group "Triangle Circle 3" 450th Bombardment Group "Triangle Circle 5" Airfields: Brindisi (98th BG), Grottaglie (449th BG), Lecce (98th BG), Manduria (98th BG), San Pancrazio (376th BG, 450th BG) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 49th Bombardment Wing (B-24 Liberator) "Red Tail" Transferred from Greenville AAB, South Carolina 6 April 1944 Headquartered: Bari Airfield, Italy, 6 April 1944 – 16 October 1945 451st Bombardment Group "Red Tail Red Dot" 461st Bombardment Group "Red Tail Red Dash" 484th Bombardment Group "Red Tail Red Bow" Airfields: Gina del Colle (451st BG), San Pancrazio (451st BG), Torretta (484th BG) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 55th Bombardment Wing (B-24 Liberator) "Yellow/Black Tail" Transferred from: MacDill Field, Florida Headquartered: Taranto, Italy, March 1944 – July 1945 460th Bombardment Group "Yellow/Black Tail Square Dot" 464th Bombardment Group "Yellow/Black Tail Square l" 465th Bombardment Group "Yellow/Black Tail" 485th Bombardment Group "Yellow/Black Tail Square X" Airfields: Gioia (464th BG), Pantanella (465th BG), Spinazzola Airfield (460th BG), Venosa Airfield (485th BG) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 304th Bombardment Wing (B-24 Liberator) "Black Diamond" Activated in Italy Headquartered: Cerignola Airfield, Italy, 29 December 1943 – September 1945 454th Bombardment Group "Black Diamond" 455th Bombardment Group "Black Diamond Yellow Tail" 456th Bombardment Group "Black Diamond Red Tail" 459th Bombardment Group "Black Diamond Yellow/Black Check Tail" Airfields: Giulia Airfield (455th BG), San Giovanni Airfield (454th BG, 455th BG, 456th BG) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 305th Fighter Wing (Provisional) (P-38 Lightning) Transferred from Twelfth Air Force, 1943 Headquartered: Foggia, 29 December 1943 – 19 January 1944 Spinazzola Airfield, 19 January – 6 March 1944 Bari Airfield, 6 March – December 1944 Torremaggiore, December 1944 – 9 September 1945 1st Fighter Group 27FS (HV Red), 71st (LM Black), 94th (UN Yellow) 14th Fighter Group 82d Fighter Group Airfields: Gioia del Colle Airfield (1st FG), Leisna (14th FG 82d FG), Salosa (1st FG), Triolo Airfield (14th FG), Vincenzo Airfield (82d FG) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 306th Fighter Wing (P-51 Mustang) Activated in Italy Headquartered: Bari Airfield, Italy, 15–27 January 1944 Foggia, Italy, 27 January – 23 February 1944 Lucera, Italy, 23 February – 8 March 1944 Torremaggiore, Italy, 8 March – 3 September 1944 Lesina Airfield, Italy, 3 September 1944 – 5 March 1945 Fano, Italy, 5 March – 15 July 1945 31st Fighter Group Red diagonal tail stripe 307FS (MX), 308FS (HL), 309FS (WZ) 325th Fighter Group (P-47 Thunderbolt, B-26 Marauder, P-51 Mustang) Black/Yellow chex Tails 317FS (10–39), 318FS (40–69), 319FS (70–99) 52d Fighter Group (Yellow Tails) 2FS (QP) 4FS (WD), 5FS (VF) 332d Fighter Group 'Tuskegee Airmen' / 'Red Tail Angels' 99FS (A00 – A39, Blue), 100FS (1–39, Black), 301FS (40–69, White), 302FS (70–99,01-09, Yellow) Airfields: Capodichino (332d FG), Cattolica (332d FG), Madna Airfield (52d FG), Mondolfo (31st FG. 325th FG), Montecorvino (332d FG), Piagiolino (52d FG), Ramitelli (332d FG), Rimini (325th FG), Vincenzo Airfield (325th FG) .* Sent to Aghione, Corsica from 10–21 August 1944 for Operation DRAGOON (Invasion of Southern France) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 15th Special Group (Provisional) Reported directly to Fifteenth Air Force Assigned to 15th Air Force in June 1944 Stationed at Brindisi Re-designated 2641st Special Group (Provisional) 859th BS flew Carpetbagger operations out of England until September 1944 before being moved to MTO 885th BS was initially known as 122nd BS assigned to 68th Reconnaissance Group operating B-17s in the MTO. Assigned to the 15th Special Group in January 1945. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 305th Bombardment Wing Activated in Italy, 29 December 1943, No units assigned until 13 June 1945 Headquarters: Torremaggiore, December 1944 – September 1945 1st Fighter Group 14th Fighter Group 31st Fighter Group 52d Fighter Group 82d Fighter Group 325th Fighter Group 332d Fighter Group -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [edit] Initial Operations Restored P-51D of the 31st Fighter Group, 308th Fighter Squadron, "Flying Dutchman", showing 12 aerial victories. B-24 of the 464h Bomb Group B-17F of the 97th Bomb Group over the Alps B-24 of the 451st Bomb Group The 15th Air Force began its operations on 2 November 1943, attacking the Messerschmitt factory at Wiener Neustadt, Austria. On 1 December 1943, the Headquarters was moved to Bari Airfield, Italy. On 4 January 1944, Fifteenth, along with Twelfth Air Force were organized into Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, along with the Royal Air Force 205 Group. MAAF was the southern component of U.S. Strategic Air Forces, Europe, the overall USAAF command and control organization in Europe. The first major operation carried out by Fifteenth Air Force was bombing missions in support of the Anzio Landings in Italy, Operation Shingle beginning on 22 January 1944. Strikes on German and fascist Italian targets were carried out and caused widespread damage to Axis forces. [edit] Big Week Main article: Big Week "Big Week" was the name of an intense Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces series of attacks on Germany in a series of co-ordinated raids on the German aircraft industry. The plan, code-named "Operation Argument", was to use both American strategic air forces in Europe, with support by the Royal Air Force with night bombing raids to destroy or seriously cripple the German ability to produce combat aircraft. The Americans were facing strong Luftwaffe fighter opposition to their daylight bombing raids over Nazi-occupied Europe, and it was planned to initiate Operation Argument at the earliest possible date. On 22 February 1944, Fifteenth Air Force made its first attack on Germany, with an attack on Regensburg. The Fifteenth dispatched a force of 183 bombers to the Oberstraubing Messerschmidt assembly plant. Some 118 bombed with good results but fourteen were shot down. The next day the 15th sent 102 bombers to the Steyr ball-bearing works in Austria where they destroyed twenty percent of the plant. On 24 February, over 180 Liberators inflicted considerable damage to the Messerschmitt Bf 110 assembly plant at Gotha, losing 28 aircraft. On 25 February, 114 B-17s and B-24s were dispatched to Steyr again, but the force became separated and the Liberators bombed the Fiume oil refinery instead. Seventeen bombers were lost. Despite these losses, it was believed that the USSTAF had dealt the German aircraft industry a severe blow. [edit] Oil Industry Targets In April, General Eisenhower ordered the USSTAF to attack German fuel production centers by striking both the oil refineries and the factories producing synthetic fuels. The 15th started the offensive on 5 April when it dispatched 235 B-17s and B-24s from Italy to transportation targets in the vicinity of the Ploesti oilfields in Romania. The refineries were attacked again on 15 and 24 April, inflicting additional damage. Attacks on oil targets had assumed top priority by October and vast fleets of heavy bombers, escorted by P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang fighters escorted missions to attack refineries in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania. The P-51 escorts were able to establish an environment of air superiority, enabling the bombers to roam widely across southern and eastern Europe, attacking targets at Brux in Czechoslovakia, Budapest, Komárom, Gy?r and Pétfürd? in Hungary, Belgrade and other cities in Yugoslavia and Trieste in north-eastern Italy. [edit] Soviet Support By June 1944, the 15th Air Force was bombing railway networks in south-east Europe in support of Soviet military operations in Romania. Throughout the summer of 1944, Austrian aircraft manufacturing centers at Wiener Neustadt were bombed and oil producing centers were attacked. On 2, 15 June Air Force flew its first "shuttle" mission when 130 B-17s and P-51 escorts landed in Russian controlled territory after a raid in Hungary. Two more shuttle missions followed. [edit] Operation Anvil In July, the 15th began attacking targets in Southern France in preparation for Operation Anvil, the invasion of Southern France. Marseilles, Lyon, Grenoble and Toulon were all attacked by B-24s and B-17s. [edit] The end of the Third Reich An historic 15th Air Force operation mission occurred on 24 March 1945 when 666 bombers struck Berlin, Munich, and other German targets as well as Czechoslovakia. The Berlin force was attacked by Me 262 jets that inflicted losses (ten bombers and five fighters) while the Mustangs claimed eight jets downed. Despite their speed, the German jets were too few and produced too late to stop the Allied aerial armadas from simply overwhelming the Luftwaffe and leveling their targets. The last major effort came on 25 April when 467 bombers struck rail targets in Austria, severing communications into Czechoslovakia. The 15th's final bombing mission was flown May 1 when 27 B-17s attacked Salzburg rail targets. With the German surrender in Italy, 15th Air Force aircraft began dropping supplies over Yugoslavia and evacuating Allied prisoners of war. A total of around 2,110 bombers were lost on operations by its fifteen B-24 and six B-17 bombardment groups, while its seven fighter groups claimed a total of 1,836 enemy aircraft destroyed. The Fifteenth was deactivated in Italy 15 September 1945

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