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Walker Melville Mahurin

Military

Walker Mahurin joined the 56th Fighter Group in July 1942 and arrived in the UK in January 1943. He was later promoted to Captain and Flight Leader of the 63rd Fighter Squadron. He claimed his first victories during the Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission, when he shot down two FW 190s, one flown by Luftwaffe Ace, Major Wilhelm Galland. By November 1943 Mahurin had become the first American "Double Ace. Mahurin would claim 20 kills in the European Theatre of Operations. His final kill in the ETO (shared with 3 other pilots) on 27 March 1944 was a Do-17, which he shot down over France, on a Bomber escort mission. On that same day, his P-47 #42-8487 sustained heavy battle damage from enemy fighters and Mahurin was forced to bail out. He described the experience: "The next thing I know, I'm in the French countryside at high noon with 35 of my fellow fighter pilots circling around me like a beehive... I ran like hell." After hiding in a haystack, Mahurin was picked up by the French Resistance and successfully evaded capture for five weeks. He was evacuated on 6 May 1944 from a field 1km NW of Outarville, near Pithiviers, France by an RAF 161 Squadron Lysander aircraft (pilot F/Lt Alexander) along with 2 French secret agents returning to Great Britain. Like other Allied airmen who had been downed in German-occupied countries, Mahurin did not fly any more missions, for fear that his knowledge of the French Resistance and Helpers could put these people in jeopardy in case he was shot down again. After returning to his Unit, he was sent back to the US. In October 1944, Mahurin was shipped to the Pacific Theatre of Operations to command the 3rd Fighter Squadron. He claimed two more kills flying Mustangs from the Philippines. He finished the war as Lieutenant-Colonel with a promotion to Commander of the 3rd Air Commando Group. Following the War Mahurin stayed with the US Air Force. During the Korean War he commanded the 1st Fighter Group, training in F-86s Sabre; he then served as assistant to his old 56th Fighter Group comrade, Colonel Francis S. Gabreski, with the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, before leading the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing in combat. Flying F-86 Sabres, Mahurin claimed another kill, becoming the only American pilot to score victories in the European and Pacific Theatres and the Korean War.
Mahurin's F-86 Sabre was shot down on 13 May 1952 by North Korean ground fire while strafing a truck and he had to bail out. He was taken Prisoner of War in North Korea, enduring psychological torture, intense questioning and solitary confinement whilst imprisoned before making a false confession that he undertook germ warfare tactics. He was released on 31 August 1953 and later promoted to Colonel after working to develop courses on interrogation survival. Walker Mahurin retired from the US Air Force Reserve in December 1978. He had published the book "Honest John: The Autobiography of Walker M. Mahurin" in 1962.

Service

People

  • John Barnes

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Enlisted Man | 56th Fighter Group

  • Walter Frederick

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 507th Fighter Group
    1st Lt Walter R. Frederick 8th AF 56th FG 63rd. ...

  • Eugene O'Neill

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot | 56th Fighter Group
    American Fight Ace, Joined the Army Air Corp in April of 1941. Member of the famed 56FG, "Zemke's Wolf Pack", 62nd PS Dog Patch B Flight Leader. Awarded Silver Star, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and Four Air Medals. During 20 years of service...

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Units served with

  • 56th Fighter Group

    56th Fighter Group

    Group
    Flying P-47 Thunderbolts throughout their time stationed in England, the Group, known as "the Wolfpack", had more ace pilots than any other Eighth Air Force Fighter Group. The 56th Fighter Group also destroyed more enemy aircraft in air combat than any...

  • 63rd Fighter Squadron

Aircraft

Missions

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-106 BOMBER ESCORT

    17 August 1943
    This operation was conducted in two elements to provide fighter escort for the B-17 formations attacking at Schweinfurt/Regensberg. A composite force of 240 P-47s from: 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; and 353FG are despatched to escort the penetration by the B-17s of...

Associated Place

  • Boxted

    Military site : airfield
    Boxted was built for heavy bombers and became operational from May 1943. In the few months B-26 Marauders of the 386th Bomb Group were stationed there, there were two night attacks by the Luftwaffe. On 17 August 1943, one man was killed when bombs...

  • Halesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Halesworth was constructed in 1942-1943. Initially planned as a bomber airfield, its location close to the Suffolk coast meant that it was in an ideal position to operate escort fighters, where range was a critical factor. Consequently, the 56th...

  • Horsham St Faith

    Military site : airfield
    Horsham St Faith was an RAF Bomber Command Station opened in June 1940. It was home to Bristol Blenheim medium-bombers, and was for a time occupied by fighters, including those of No. 19 Squadron and No. 264 Squadron. From September 1942 the airfield...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Benton Harbor, MI, USA 5 December 1918
Lived in 1941

Fort Wayne, Allen County, Michigan

Enlisted 29 September 1941

Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana

Bailed out 27 March 1944

of his P-47 #42-8487, near Chartres, France

Evaded (EVD) 27 March 1944 – 7 May 1944

Evaded capture with the help of French citizens and members of the Résistance. Back in the UK on 7 May 1944. Escape & Evasion Report E&E 617 at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5555257

Prisoner of War (POW) 13 May 1952 – 31 August 1953

His F-86 Sabre was shot down by North Korean ground fire while strafing a truck

Buried Arlington National Cemetery 2010

Walker Mahurin rests at Arlington

Died 11 May 2010

Newport Beach, California, United States

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2020 15:52:39 ED-BB Changes to media associations
Sources

Associated media UPL 41814

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2020 15:51:04 ED-BB Changes to media associations
Sources

Added media : press clippings from his Escape & Evasion Report E&E 617 at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5555257

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2020 15:45:34 ED-BB Changes to service number, biography and events
Sources

WWII Draft Card
NARA WWII Enlistment Records
MACR 3440
NARA - Captured German records - J-757 at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/131494961 = «Fate of pilot unknown»
Escape & Evasion Report E&E 617 at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5555257
http://www.plan-sussex-1944.net/francais/pdf/infiltrations_en_france.pdf

Date Contributor Update
09 October 2017 20:31:12 fugari Changes to highest rank, role, biography, awards, events and place associations
Sources

JCook Photo Collection & Archives

Date Contributor Update
18 March 2015 14:41:07 general ira snapsorter Changes to service number, biography, events and aircraft associations
Sources

Aircraft Connection :
http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/search.php?searchString=mahurin&Submit=Se...

Birth and death details corrected :
Http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=mahurin&GSfn=walker&GSbyr...

POW details added :
National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Korean War Prisoners of War, 1950-1954 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

Original data: Korean War Data File of American Prisoners of War [Archival Database]; Records of American Prisoners of War During the Korean War, 1950-1953; Records of the Army Staff, Record Group 319; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

Repatriated Korean Conflict Prisoners of War, 7/5/1950-10/6/1954 [Archival Database]; Records of Repatriated Korean War Prisoners of War, 1978-1980; Records of the Veterans Administration, Record Group 15; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

Date Contributor Update
24 February 2015 10:42:28 Emily Changes to media associations
Sources

Associated media from new Freeman Collection images & selected Key image

Date Contributor Update
02 October 2014 16:05:39 Emily Changes to middlename, nickname, highest rank, biography, awards, events, place associations, mission associations and media associations
Sources

Freeman, The Mighty Eighth, p. 276.
Obituary: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/13/AR201005...
Obituary: http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2010/may/24/bud-mahurin-obituary

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:26:41 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 3440 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / www.56thfightergroup.co.uk/personnel.htm

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