Major Thomas B. McGuire, Jr
U. S. Army Air Force
P-38 Lightning Pilot
Thomas Buchanan McGuire was born on August 1, 1920 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Nicknamed "Tommy", he attended Georgia Tech for three years. On July 12, 1941 McGuire joined the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) aviation cadet program. On February 2, 1942 at Kelly Field, Texas he earned his pilot wings and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, with U. S. Army serial number O-437031.
McGuire was assigned to the 313th Pursuit Squadron of the 50th Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan during February to May 1942. He then joined the 56th Pursuit Squadron of the 54th Pursuit Group at Paine Field in Washington, and served in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska during June to October 1942, then returning to Hamilton Field until March 1943.
Next, Lt McGuire was assigned to the 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron in New Guinea. During July 1943, he transferd to the 475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron. During May to December 1944 he was Commanding Officer (C. O.) Next, served as operations officer of the 475th Fighter Group during December 1944 until he was killed in action. His five P-38 Lightnings were nicknamed "Pudgy", his wife's nickname including P-38H "Pudgy II" 42-66817, Pudgy III, P-38L "Pudgy IV" 44-????? and P-38L "Pudgy V" 44-24155.
On January 7, 1945 McGuire took off piloting P-38L "Eileen-Ann" 44-24845 and crashed on Negros Island. His remains were recovered in 1949. In total, McGuire was credited with destroying 38 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 3 probables and 2 damaged, all while flying the P-38 Lightning. He earned the Medal of Honor (MOH), posthumously.
After the recovery of remains, McGuire was
buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 11, grave 426 C H / SH. On January 13, 1948, Fort Dix Army Air Base in Wrightstown, New Jersey, was renamed McGuire AFB in his honor.
|Medal of Honor Citation (G.O. No.: 24, 7 March 1946)
Citation: "He fought with conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity over Luzon, Philippine Islands. Voluntarily, he led a squadron of 15 P-38's as top cover for heavy bombers striking Mabalacat Airdrome, where his formation was attacked by 20 aggressive Japanese fighters. In the ensuing action he repeatedly flew to the aid of embattled comrades, driving off enemy assaults while himself under attack and at times outnumbered 3 to 1, and even after his guns jammed, continuing the fight by forcing a hostile plane into his wingman's line of fire. Before he started back to his base he had shot down 3 Zeros. The next day he again volunteered to lead escort fighters on a mission to strongly defended Clark Field. During the resultant engagement he again exposed himself to attacks so that he might rescue a crippled bomber. In rapid succession he shot down 1 aircraft, parried the attack of 4 enemy fighters, 1 of which he shot down, single-handedly engaged 3 more Japanese, destroying 1, and then shot down still another, his 38th victory in aerial combat. On 7 January 1945, while leading a voluntary fighter sweep over Los Negros Island, he risked an extremely hazardous maneuver at low altitude in an attempt to save a fellow flyer from attack, crashed, and was reported missing in action. With gallant initiative, deep and unselfish concern for the safety of others, and heroic determination to destroy the enemy at all costs, Maj. McGuire set an inspiring example in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service."
Aircraft Assigned to McGuire
Known aircraft assigned to McGuire, all with squadron number 131.
P-38H "Pudgy" 42-????? ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped
P-38H "Pudgy II" 42-66817 ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped
P-38? "Pudgy III" 42-????? ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped
P-38L "Pudgy IV" 44-????? ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped
P-38L "Pudgy V" 44-24155 ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped
Aerial victory claims by McGuire
October 17, 1943 - Three Zeros claimed off Oro Bay, shot down himself, bailed out and rescued.
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