54th Fighter Squadron

Kenneth Ambrose standing next to his plane
Lieutenant Kenneth W. Ambrose stands in front of his Lockheed P-38 Lightning. In August 1942, Lieutenants Kenneth Ambrose and Stanley Long succeeded in taking out a Japanese Mavis. They were credited with the first kill in a P-38.

Kenneth William Ambrose, 1st Lieutenant, pilot, 11th Air Force, U.S. Army.
Courtesy Kathleen Edwards, daughter. Circa 1941-42, photographer unknown.

Jack Channualt congratulates Lt. Kenneth Ambrose
Group Commander Jack Channualt gets onto Lt. Kenneth Ambrose’s plane to congratulate him on a successful mission (mission mentioned above).

courtesy h.r. "mac" mcgalliard, editor, 11th AAF association newsletter

"I became good friends with Banks. Mostly because he was one year older and I took care of his air plane. And when he found some, he would bring me a fifth of whiskey. Not that I needed it, but because we were trying to act grown up."

H.R. "Mac" McGalliard, 54th Fighter Squadron, 1942-1944
Lt. Warren Banks (left) and H.R. "Mac" McGalliard (right)
Top left: Lieutenant Warren E. Banks was a pilot with the 54th Fighter Squadron. He ran out of fuel during one of his missions and crashed into the ocean. He was 22 years old when he died.

Top right: Mac McGalliard sitting on the engine behind the plane's propeller. His boots dangle across the cooler. He would park himself here when he got done with his daily chores. He sat and waited for his pilots to come start the engines.

Courtesy H.R. “Mac” McGalliard, Editor 11th AAF Association Newsletter “FILE”.

"Lieutenant Banks was a big kid, liked to smile and tease. I would put gum and candy in the cockpit for him when he went out on a long haul, sometimes 9 hours or 10. That's a long time to be over the water and no recognizable things. All those pilots were in a rough theater."

H.R. "Mac" McGalliard, 54th Fighter Squadron, 1942-1944
Major Samways and two men study orders
Major Samways (middle) sits with two unidentified men. The men are looking at what appears to be Tech Orders.

Courtesy H.R. “Mac” McGalliard, Editor 11th AAF Association Newsletter “FILE”.

Crewmembers of the 54th
Crewmembers from the 54th Fighter Squadron discuss a map on Amchitka in 1943. From left to right: George C. Laven, Friedman, Warren E. Banks, Wayman, Headlund, Sekrin, Emil A. Mrizek, Tracy, Lyle A. Bean, and John K. Geddes.

Courtesy H.R. “Mac” McGalliard, Editor 11th AAF Association Newsletter “FILE”.

"I was flight leader on a flight where we went through and strafed, well, we went in over North Head and then over the main camp area, came out over South Head [Kiska Island]. And my number four man got hit as we came out, Livesay was his name, Spider Livesay, and he was on fire and feathered his engine and it looked like the fire went out. But, his wing man, John Geddes ... flew up under him and told him, 'Spider, you're on fire, head for the nearest island,' which was, I think, it was Rat Island, he was closest to that."

Lyle A. Bean, pilot, 54th Fighter Squadron, 1942-1943
Two photos of Lt. John Geddes and his Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the "Lorna D."
Lieutenant John Geddes and his Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the “Lorna D”. He named the plane after his wife. Geddes flew during 1943 out of Amchitka Island, and was one of the pilots that flew sorties during the battle of Attu.

Courtesy Dusty Finley.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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