Assigned to Col Joseph Laughlin the CO of 362nd Fighter Group who flew the group's first combat mission on 8th February 1944 escorting B24s to St Omer. Laughlin led the 379FS with Red Flight, accompanied by George Rarey and two others.
On his second sortie, 10th February, Laughlin claimed the group's first "probable" kill by hitting an Me109 just inside the German border
The serial number of "5x5" is not yet known but a replica of this Thunderbolt is displayed at the National Museum of the USAF in Ohio.
© Ray Bowden 30 November 2023