Folded together with the letter of appreciation in my last post was this copy of a press release which describes some of the events mentioned in the letter.
The following is a press release issued by Fifth Air Force to all correspondents:
“Fifth Air Force, Philippines…..For the first time in this war a fighter group has dropped a greater tonnage of bombs during a single month than any single heavy bomb group.
The record shattering outfit is the Fifth Air Force Fighter Command’s 348th Fighter Group. During the past month (April, 1945), P-51 Mustangs of this Jap blasting fighter group dropped 2,091 tons of bombs, of which 2,068 tons were checked off as direct hits on pin-point targets.
The 348th, which during one period shot down 231 Jap aircraft for a combat loss of one pilot, has been credited by ground forces intelligence with the destruction of 10,000 Japanese by bombing and strafing during the past month.
Doing their bombing “on the deck” in close support of infantry digging the Japs out of Luzon, the 348th’s pilots did such outstanding work, often as close as 50 yards in front of American lines, that the group has been officially commended by the commanding generals of the 38th Infantry Division and 112th Cavalry.
Flying as many as 200 sorties a day, the Mustang’s pilots fired nearly 2,000,000 rounds of fifty caliber ammunition during the past month. They struck every conceivable type of target – caves, entrenchments, gun emplacements, troops, vehicles, factories, warehouses, barges, shipping and anything else that was Jap. They did the job with the loss of a single plane, and the pilot of that one was rescued.
The 348th first established its reputation as a “Go down and blast ‘em” scourge of Jap shipping. It ran up a record total during the Leyte campaign and, during one three week period this year, its pilots sank one tenth of the Jap shipping credited to the entire Fifth Air force.”
Rec’d 341st Fighter Squadron 1 June 1945