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Pilots of the 506th Fighter Group

Lt. Tom Messall

Pilot: Tom Messall | Nickname: none | Rank: 1st Lt. | Squadron: 457th | Plane: 517 | Name: Lady Dee | S/N: #44-77556

 

 

The "Lady Dee" (early lettering) w/driver Lt. Tom Messall

Biographical Outline of Thomas Otto Messall

 

Born: April 15, 1922 – Supply, Oklahoma

Died: March 20, 1962 - Half Moon Bay, California

Interned: March 23, 1962 – Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, CA.

Significant Dates & Locations:

May 19, 1939 – Graduated Stillwater High School, Stillwater, OK.

September 1939 – Enter Oklahoma A&M (O.S.U.)

College Activities Joined

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) – classified active duty (9/18/1940 – 9/18/1941)

Newspaper Staff Writer (The Daily O’Collegian), college newspaper, Oklahoma A&M

Theta Kappa Phi (Men’s Catholic Fraternity)

Men’s Glee Club

December 7, 1941 - Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii

December 15, 1941 - Enlisted U.S. Army Air Corps, Oklahoma City, OK. #0-812464 age (19 yrs. 8 mo. old)

December 7, 1941 - Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii

December 15, 1941 - Enlisted U.S. Army Air Corps, Oklahoma City, OK. #0-812464 age (19 yrs. 8 mo. old)

January 1942 – April 1943 - Pre-flight school training to include a compressed boot camp that concentrated on athletics & military training followed by academics. 

They were taught the mechanics & physics of flight & aeronautics, deflection shooting & thinking in three dimensions.

Passed Cadet Exam Feb. or March of 1942.

Those who passed were given Cadet Wings & promoted to Pilot School as Aviation Cadets. 

April 6, 1943 – May 25, 1943 - Primary Pilot Training

Boeing Stearman PT-17 Kaydet Biplane Bennettsville, S.C. (logging 62 hrs. flight time)

*Made first solo flight in the Stearman PT-17 on 4/21/43, (35 min.)

*April 15, 1943 – Tom turns 21 years of age (9 days after training begins)

June 2, 1943 -July 28, 1943 – Basic Pilot Training

Vultee BT-13A Valiant Single Engine (2) seater training aircraft Shaw Field, S.C. (logging 73.2 hrs. flight time)

*Made first solo flight in the Valiant BT-13A on 6/9/43, (40 min.)

August 2, 1943 – September 30, 1943

Advanced Pilot Training North American AT-6 Single Engine (2) seater advanced training aircraft, Spence Airfield, GA. (logging 89 hrs. flt. time including 10 hrs. at Tifton Airfield for the Curtiss P-40f Warhawk school. The Rolls Royce Merlin engine had 1260 hp. Twice that of the AT-6. Ready for the next level.

Made first solo flight in the Texan AT-6 on 8/5/43, (1hr 20min.)

Cadets who completed all levels of their Cadet training and graduated at the top of their class, where graded as 2nd Lieutenants and are presented their Pilots Wings.

*October 1st, 1943 Earned Wings & Commission

Date of entry into active service

2nd Lieutenant Thomas Otto Messall

October 26, 1943 – February 12, 1944

Transitional Pilot Trng. Bartow Army Airfield

Aircraft included: BT-13A Valiant, AT-6 Texan, P-51 Mustang, P47 Thunderbolt.

Training included: Aerial & ground gunnery, skip bombing, aerobatics, elementary formation, high altitude formation, high altitude & low altitude navigation, emergency landing, Flight Leader Tactical Formation, search mission. Logging 155 hrs. flight time. 

*Made first solo flight in the North American P-51A on 10/28/43, (2hrs.)

Advanced Pilot Training Instructor

Bartow Army Airfield

*November 1943 – December 1944

This is the transitional pilot training from a pilot to a combat fighter pilot.

November 29, 1943 – Married Mary Delores Goodwin of St. Louis, MO. St. Joseph Catholic Church, Winter Haven, FL.

*April 15, 1944 – Tom turns 22 years of age.

Feb. 28, 1945 – Depart U.S.A. for South Pacific Theater

March 11th, 1945 - Arrive South Pacific (Guam). 

The 506 Fighter Group/457 Fighter Squadron/VII Fighter Command. Assigned to aircraft tail reg. #44-77556, North American Aviation P51D, fuselage #517, the “Lady Dee”.

March 23, 1945 – Guam to Tinian – Ferry to new strip, West Field #4.

March 30 & 31, 1945 – Formation & Tracking, Combat Air Patrol – local over Tinian.

April 3 – 24, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Tinian (8 mission).

*April 15, 1945 – Tom turns 23 years of age, (1 month before going to Iwo Jima)

 

Original flag atop Mt. Suribachi

May 2,3, & 10, 1945 – Formation & Navigation training – local Tinian & Guam.

May 11, 1945 – Tinian to Iwo Jima, Ferry to North Airfield – Iwo Jima

May 25, 28, & 30, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima

June 4, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima

June 10, 1945 – VLR Mission, Iwo Jima to Japan, Escort B29 bombing runs

June 19, 1945 – Strafing Attack - Harbor Instillations, Iwo Jima to Chi-Chi Jima

June 23, 1945 – VLR Mission, Iwo Jima to Japan - Strafing Attack Airfields

June 28, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima (test)

July 1, 1945 – Local, Iwo Jima (Abort VLR mission)

July 2,1945 – Combat Air Patrol, Local over Iwo Jima

July 4, 1945 – VLR Mission, Iwo Jima to Japan - Strafing Attack, Tsukuba Airfield

July 6, 1945 – VLR Mission, Iwo Jima to Japan - Escort Navigator B-29

July 9, 1945 – VLR Mission, Iwo Jima to Japan - Escort Navigator B-29July 10th, 1945 - promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant

July 12, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima

July 13, 1945 – Dive Bombing & Strafing Harbor Installations, Iwo Jima to Chi-Chi Jima

July 14, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima (test)

July 16, 1945 – VLR Mission, Iwo Jima to Japan, Aerial Combat w/Zero’s 1/Zero damaged

July 21, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima (flight leader)

July 22, 1945 – VLR Mission, Iwo Jima to Japan – Strafing Airfields & Shipping, Inland Sea

July 28, 1945 – VLR Mission, Iwo Jima to Japan - Cover for Lifeguard Submarine 

August 3, 1945 – VLR Mission, Iwo Jima to Japan - Strafing Tokyo area

August 4, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima (test)

August 6, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima (test)

 

Wingman Jimmy Cawley P51D the "Jeannie XIII" fuselage #513

August 7, 1945 – VLR Mission to Japan – Escort (1st atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima)

August 13, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima (test)

August 14, 1945 – VLR Mission, Escort B-29 bomber, Osaka, Japan (Last day of WWII)

August 15, 1945 – VJ Day (Victory in Japan)

August 24, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, local over Iwo Jima

August 27, 1945 – Local over Iwo Jima, Squadron Formation

September 2, 1945 - Japanese representatives sign the official instrument of surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

September 2 & 8, 1945 – Combat Air Patrol, (CAP) Iwo Jima (Last entries in flight log)

September 11, 1945 – Departs South Pacific Theater

September 15, 1945 – Arrives U.S.A.

September 16, 1946 – Departs U.S.A.

October 8, 1946 – Arrives Philippine Base Service Command

May 16, 1947 – Philippine Base Service Command – Army Travel left

1st Lieutenant Thomas Otto Messall leaves the Philippine’s aboard the U.S.A.T. Brewster.

June 4, 1947 – Arrives the United States, San Francisco Port of Embarkation, Pittsburg, California. 

June 5, 1947 – Awarded rank of Captain

 
Tom, Art, Charles

*All missions and dates are from the Senior Pilot’s Flight Log of Lt. Thomas Otto Messall, #0-812464 of the Army Air Corps, U.S.A, pilot of the North American Aviation P-51D Mustang, tail reg. #44-77556, fuselage #517, known as the “Lady Dee”. These are missions flown from March to September of 1945. All dates are based upon local times and dates in theater, Guam, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and Japan. 

 

Arrival time: 6/28/2022 at: 5:46:58 AM

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