The 512th Fighter Squadron
T he "Pilots" is the word that enabled this book to be published and to which all our hearts are dedicated. It is a word that reaches back and claims every man who ever took a ship into the war clouded skies.
Many records, awards, and commendations have been made and earned by all personnel of the 512th, but records that were first of all attempted and strived for because their ultimate collective goal of success in the skies against the enemy they knew would be achieved by these pilots.
This confidence has been repaid in a blazing record that has created this way of saying thanks to them in pictures, to be printed and made a record on history's pages to their flying skill, their courage, and their complete devotion to duty.
It is felt that no other group of men could have made or has ever equaled the record of these pilots while flying the P-47 in the assignment of duty.
Kneeling: Cornell, Deloge, Conway, Martens, Duran.
The functions of the squadron have been smoothly coordinated and ably directed by the Executive officer, Maj. WRIGHT; the Adjutant, Capt. GORTON, and the 1st Sgt. Felix B. SHAPIRO.
Major Thomas S. WRIGHT is a native of Iowa and served as an enlisted man in an artillery outfit. As Executive he had the responsibility of preparing the squadron to go overseas and in the ETO he functioned as an administrative inspector of the various sections.
Captain William R. GORTON is from Liberty, New York. Originally the squadron supply officer, Capt. Gorton has had charge of all personnel problems in the squadron as Adjutant as well as supervisor of the Mess.
1st Sgt. Felix B. SHAPIRO is from Atlanta, Georgia and very proud of it. Lucky is the squadron with a good 1st Sgt. And lucky is the 512th in its 1st Sgt. Understanding and able, his competent supervision of the Squadron Headquarters and his able representation of the enlisted men is highly appreciated.
John M. DURAN, mail clerk, known as "Muscles" to his unlimited number of friends. By his willingness to do his job well, Muscles, in his own inimitable manner is a large contributing factor to the morale of the Squadron. However, the very fact of his jolly disposition belies the nickname of "Muscles."
Jim "Army Regulations" NEWMAN, head of the Unit Personnel Section not only has to "Keep Em Paid" but cares for the intricate records of each individual in, or attached to, this organization. His unswerving devotion to duty, coupled with his loyalty and long hours of work has earned for this Squadron the enviable record of having the best Unit Personnel Section in the ETO.
Frank FAHNESTOCK, "Nimble Fingers Frankie" has contributed largely to the success of the Unit Personnel section. It is quite a treat to hear "Nimble Fingers" beat out a tattoo on the typewriter. If the army red tape has got you, and you're in doubt, see "Pop."
Walter R. MARTENS—two hundred and fifty men, representing 43 states, could not escape the mighty pen of "Duty Roster" Martens. His unbiased selections of KP's, work details, and Guards, kept to a minimum the usual gripes that accompanies this job.
Robert H. CORNELL, our highly competent statistician—275, who dotes on classification and assignment; his audit list is truly a work of art. His easygoing ways and unruffled disposition have just earned him the nickname of "Nonchalant Bob."
Irving J. CONWAY—by long and arduous work, together with his tireless efforts to attain perfection, has developed into a master in the art of "policing up."
INTELLIGENCE: S-2 with its intelligence, censorship, maps, training, legal procedures, orientation, drafting, and program of helping the pilots in every possible way has set a fine record within the 512th Fighter Squadron.
Kneeling: Cohen, Gallagher, Laatsch.
Capt. Carl T. MATTHEWS, Jr. of Oklahoma directed the section and was ably assisted by 1st Lt. Robert G. (Bob) COCKINS of Santa Monica, Calif., well known for his hearty laugh and good humor.
Norman "Spearhead" GALLAGHER as NCO section head, coordinated the activities of Martin R. LAATSCH, draftsman, and "Hy" COHEN, intelligence specialist, who was well known for his industry and willingness to please.
"Get Those Doughnuts" COHEN, as he was jokingly referred to by some, hails from Houston, Texas, the state to which the other 47 are attached for quarters and rations, as Hy would say. "Pete" LAATSCH comes from Gleason, Wisc. and claims that Chicago and the beer from his home state are tops. "Norm" Gallagher is one of those 100% Californians who think that the Golden State has everything from liquid sunshine to the best oranges.