The Collection of

 

Master Sergeant Alexander Sandor Balogh Jr.

 

 

Many thanks to Alexander Balogh's son Keith, who granted permission to display this extraordinary photographic record of service in the Pacific. Keith Balogh also provided the following comments on his Dads service.

 

My Dad joined the Army Air Corp in October of 1938 and quickly rose in rank. His first assignment as a Staff Sergeant was with the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, 5th Bomber Group at Hickam Field in The Territory of Hawaii from February 1939 to March 1941. He was the Crew Chief and mechanic of a Douglas B-18 Bolo Bomber, aircraft number 37-2. Which he is climbing into in this photo. Hickam Field was completed and activated in September 1938. My Dad said that when he arrived at Hickman Field there was still construction going on. That when he wasn't working on his plane he was working on building the defensives in and around the base. He said they also worked on Wheeler, Haleiwa and Bellows Fields and the aircraft located there.

This B-18 Bomber, serial number 37-2, was delivered in 1937. Of the sixteen B-18's in the 4th Recon Squadron it was only 1 of 4 aircraft that wasn't damaged or destroyed by the Japanese on December 7th 1941. According to Accident-Report.com it later crashed in Hawaii May 22nd 1943.

In March 1941 my Dad joined the 41st Squadron of the 35th Fighter Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan. After the December 7th, 1941 Japanese attack on Hawaii the 35th Fighter Group, which all ready had two squadrons based at and wiped out at Clark Field, The Philippines, was diverted to Australia arriving in Brisbane February 1942. The 35th Fighter Group was only one of two Fighter Groups available to defend Australia against the Japanese advance. By June 1942 the 35th Fighter Group and Allied Forces had fought their way into New Guinea and began a long fight back to The Philppines where their gallant fellow Airmen had fought and perished. The 35th Fighter Group was the first to fly P-38 Lightning's in the Pacific. They also flew P-39/P-400 Airacobra's,P-40 Warhawk's, P-47 Thunderbolt's and P-51 Mustang's. The 35th Fighter Group was awarded two Distinguished (Presidential) Unit Citations for outstanding performance in the line of action during WWII with 397 Japanese aircraft shot down and with 20 Aces produced. The 35th Fighter Group's, 39th Squadron was the first combat home for USA's greatest Ace of all time, the 'Ace of Ace's', and Medal of Honor recipient, Maj. Richard Bong. With 40 kills in the P-38 Lightning, the first five while in the 39th Squadron. The P-38's of 39th Squadron would later be absorbed into the 475th Fighter Group in November 1943. Major Bong died test piloting a new jet fighter, the P-80, on Aug-6th-1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

My Dad, now a Master Sergeant, was then assigned to the newly created 433rd Fighter Squadron of the 475th Fighter Group 'Satan's Angels', formed in Australia May 1943. He remained with them until March 1944 when he got his orders to 'go home'. The 475th Fighter Group flew the P-38 Lightning out air fields from New Guinea to the Philippines during WWII. In just two years they flew 3042 missions, 21,701 sorties and shot down 551 Japanese aircraft while only losing 56 of their own in combat and was awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations for outstanding performance in the line of action. By the end of the war the 475th Fighter Group had produced 38 Aces and was home of USA's second greatest Ace, Maj. Thomas McGuire, with 38 kills. The Major was KIA over Los Negros Island on January 7th, 1943 and received the Medal of Honor, posthumously. Charles Lindbergh also flew over 20 combat missions dive bombing, strafing and two combat victories, with the 433rd as a civilian 'observer'. Amazingly he did it with out even the President's or anyone in Washington DC's knowledge.

In April 1945 Dad was assigned to Bolling Field, Washington DC and the newly created 1st Special Air Mission Squadron, better known today as Air Force One. He served there until April 1949. At the time of its creation President Truman flew in President Roosevelt's, Douglas built, VC-54 aircraft named the 'Sacred Cow'. It was inside this aircraft that President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 that created the United States Air Force, thus making it the birthplace of the USAF. President Truman then received in 1947 a Douglas built C-118 Liftmaster that he named 'Independence'.

My Dad spent the last years of his service at Norton AFB and finally March AFB, both in California.