HISTORY




NFS BANNER

The 425th Night Fighter Squadron
Operational History

425th NFS INSIGNIA (30 K)

The 425th's insignia (approved 4 May 45, but in use prior to that date) featured a jackrabbit riding a diving P-61 toward its prey. The jackrabbit symbolized the speed of the night fighter. The Black Widow is clutching two 20mm cannon, a sign of the awesome firepower of the plane. An hourglass shape adorns the Widow's starboard wing, letting everyone know it's a Black Widow, the deadliest hunter-killer in the sky. The official description reads: "On a yellow disc, edged light turquoise blue, a caricatured 'Black Widow' aircraft is depicted in flight toward dexter base, holding, with the legs, two light turquoise blue aerial machine guns with cartridge belts affixed thereto, proper, ridden by a caricatured, brown rabbit seated astride fuselage, steering with yellow reins held in the left forepaw, and holding a red flashlight in the right forepaw."

  • History at a Glance
    • Constituted 425th Night Fighter Squadron on 23 Nov 43
    • Activated 1 Dec 43
    • Assignments: 481st Night Fighter Operational Training Group, 1 Dec 43; Ninth Air Force, 23 May 44; IX Air Defense Command, 10 Jun 44; 471st Fighter Wing, 20 Jun 44; IX Air Defense Command, 6 Aug 44; XIX Tactical Air Command, 7 Oct 44; Ninth Air Force, 7 Jul 45; Fourth Air Force, 9 Sep 45; Air Defense Command, 21 Mar 46; Fourth Air Force, 31 Jul 46 – 25 Aug 47
    • Deactivated 25 Aug 47
    • Received first P-61: 15 Jun 44
    • Operational aircraft: YP–61, 1944; A-20, 1944; P-70, 1944; P-61A/B, 1944-47
    • First enemy aircraft destroyed: 5 Aug 44 (V-1), 24 Dec 44
    • Total enemy aircraft destroyed: 14, including 4 V-1s

  • Operating Locations
    • Orlando Airbase, Florida, USA — 1 Dec 43 to 30 Jan 44
    • Hammer Field, California, USA — 30 Jan 44 to 25 Feb 44
    • Visalia Municipal Airport, California, USA — 25 Feb 44 to 1 May 44
    • Charmy Down, England — 26 May 44 to 12 Jun 44
    • Scorton, England — 12 Jun 44 to 12 Aug 44
    • Hurn Airdrome, England — 29 Jun 44 to Jul 44
    • Stoneman Park, England — 2 Aug 44 to 18 Aug 44
    • Vannes, France — 18 Aug 44 to 1 Sep 44
    • Le Moustoiris, France — 1 Sep 44 to 11 Sep 44
    • Coulommiers, France — 11 Sep 44 to 13 Oct 44
    • Prosnes, France — 13 Oct 44 to 19 Nov 44
    • Etain, France — 19 Nov 44 to 12 Apr 45
    • Frankfurt, Germany — 12 Apr 45 to 2 May 45
    • Fürth, Germany — 2 May 45 to 5 Jul 45
    • Crepy-en-Laommis, France — 5 Jul 45
    • St Victoret, France — 18–24 Aug 45
    • Lemoore Army Airfield, California, USA — 9 Sep 45
    • Camp Pinedale, California, USA — 23 Oct 45
    • March Field, California, USA — 8 Mar 46
    • McChord Field, Washington, USA — 1 Sep 46 to 25 Aug 47

  • Commanders
    • Capt. Leon G. Lewis — 10 Dec 43 to 10 Feb 45
    • Capt. Russell Glasses — 10 Feb 45 to 7 May 45
    • Capt. Morra T. McDonald — 7 May 45 to ?
    • Lt. Col. Leon G. Lewis — May 45 to Sep 45

  • Victories
    • Peterson/Howet: 2 V-1s
    • Thompson/Downey: 1 V-1
    • Ormsby/Howerton: 1 Do217s, 1 Me110, 1 Ju188
    • Andrews/Kleinheine: 1 Ju88, 1 Ju188
    • Slayton/Ferris: 1 Me110
    • Slayton/Robinson: 1 Ju188
    • Sortanowicz/Van Sickels: 1 Ju87, 1 V-1
    • Stacey/Mason: 1 Ju88
    • Gray/Robinson: 1 Ju188
Aircraft Assigned

Name Serial No. Type
Unknown 44-5537 P-61 A-5
Unknown 44-5539 P-61 A-5
Unknown 44-5542 P-61 A-5
Unknown 44-5545 P-61 A-5
Unknown 44-5546 P-61 A-5
Unknown 44-5549 P-61 A-5
Junkin' Judy 44-5550 P-61 A-5
Unknown 44-5560 P-61 A-5
Unknown 44-5565 P-61 A-5
Double Trouble 44-5566 P-61 A-10
Unknown 44-5568 P-61 A-10
Tabitha 44-5569 P-61 A-10

"Tabitha" as she looked when she was flown by Capt. Hardin Ross in France, 1944. She was one of the 425th's P-61s that met with an early fate, crashing on October 27, 1944. At the time it was being flown by Lt. Bruce Hefling and F/O Bill Broach, both of whom were killed in the crash.
Daisy Mae 44-5570 P-61 A-10
Mah Ideel 44-5571 P-61 A-10
Unknown 44-5574 P-61 A-10
Sleepy Time Gal 44-5576 P-61 A-10
Unknown 44-5578 P-61 A-10
Unknown 44-5579 P-61 A-10
Wabash Cannonball IV 44-5580 P-61 A-10

The "Wabash Cannon-Ball IV" is depicted as she looked at Advance Landing Ground A-58 (Coulommiers, France) in 1945. This ship was named after the train that ran between Detroit and St. Louis and for which that country song was written. It was flown by the 425th's Squadron Commander, Major Leon Lewis.
Little Nan 44-5581 P-61 A-10
Two O'Clock Jump 44-5582 P-61 A-10
Dangerous Dan 44-5583 P-61 A-10
Unknown 44-5584 P-61 A-10
Plenty Peed-Off Patootie III 44-5585 P-61 A-10
Unknown 44-5587(?) XP-61D
Unknown 44-5588 P-61 A-10
Unknown 44-5589 P-61 A-10
Unknown 42-39395 P-61 A-10
Unknown 42-39397 P-61 A-10
Norma Dea Unknown P-61 ?
IITYWYBdd Unknown P-61 ?
Fearless Fosdic Unknown P-61 ?
Little Audrey Unknown P-61 ?
Midnight Menace Unknown P-61 ?
The Creep Unknown P-61 ?
Sources: Northrop P-61 Black Widow, Warren Thompson, Wings of Fame Volume 15; Black Widow, Warren E. Thompson, Combat Aircraft, November 1997; P-61 Black Widow in Action, Squadron-Signal Publications; P-61 drawings by Chris Banyai-Riepl.

The George Hoover Photo Collection

George Hoover served with the 425th Night Fighter Squadron as a Crew Chief and kindly contributed these photos, which represent just a sampling of his collection. George's entire 425th Photo Album can be found here. Additional photos from George's collection taken during the WW II years are here and his WW II German postcards are here (coming soon).

CLICK FOR AN ENLARGEMENT
Changing a carbuerator on a 425th P-61, Advance Landing Ground A-82, Etain, France
(click to enlarge in separate window).


CLICK FOR AN ENLARGEMENT
425th workshop at Etain, France. Note the Cletrac tractor in the center
(click to enlarge in separate window).


CLICK FOR AN ENLARGEMENT
A Quad 50 machine gun mount was part of the AAA defense of the airfield at Etain.
(click to enlarge in separate window).


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