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Edison G. Stiff
22 February 1944 | Antwerp, Belgium
Enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the Army Air Corps on 7 January 1942 at Newark, New Jersey. Completed pre-flight training, basic pilot training, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Forces. Underwent P-40 and P-47 aircraft transition and operational training with the 352nd Fighter Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia and gunnery training at Millville Field, New Jersey. Deployed to the European Theatre of Operations and began operational theater training at Royal Air Force Station Goxhill, England. Subsequently assigned to 8th Air Force, VIII Fighter Command, 66th Fighter Wing, 353rd Fighter “Slybird” Group, 352nd Fighter Squadron stationed at Army Air Force Station #366 near the town of Metfield in Suffolk, England. On 22 February 1944, he flew as the Pilot aboard a Republic Aviation P-47D Thunderbolt (Serial #42-75065) Fuselage Code SX-L, Radio Call Sign: Wakeford Yellow 4. It was one of four fighter aircraft launched in a diamond-flight formation to provide escort to a group of B-24 aircraft on a mission to bombard the railroad marshalling yards at Koblenz, Germany. However, the B-24 Liberators aborted due to weather and his flight was instructed to wait and rendezvous with three groups of B-17 bombers. At approximately 1415 hundred hours, while at an altitude of 28,000 feet over Belgium, his aircraft suffered a direct hit by a barrage of flak from 88mm anti-aircraft artillery. His aircraft pitched straight up, burst into flames, stalled, and went into a spin. He was killed when his aircraft crashed in the Ekeren district, approximately 7 kilometers north of Antwerp, Belgium.