Seeking WWII service records for Herbert W. McQuown, USAAF DOB 11/30/1915

My father, Herbert W. McQuown, retired as a Lt. Col from USAF after 30+ years of service. During WWII in the USAAF, I think he flew out of North Africa for at least part of the war (Tunis?). I believe he mentioned flying missions to Italy. I do not know which aircraft, but I believe at least one was a fighter plane. He was wounded at some point and separated from his squadron, but made it back to base later. He did receive a Purple Heart among other decorations. He passed away in 2000 and is interred at Arlington National Cemetery. I will try to find more information, but I am not sure how much I have. 

Parents
  • My grandfather also served in North Africa & Italy!!  He served in radio communications in Fighter Control!

    I found a picture of your father's damaged plane and a brief report:

    National Archives NextGen Catalog

    NAID: 204944875   (this is the record ID you can use to look it up, in case the link does not work)

    National Archives NextGen Catalog

    NAID: 204944872

    Lt Col McQuown was flying a Lockheed P-38 in North Africa at the time (circa July 1943), when his plane was hit by both a 20mm shell and machine gun fire. One of the bullets apparently ricocheted off his instrument panel and into his leg. Despite this injury, he was able to successfully fly back to base.

  • Thank you so much, Airheart! I have no idea how to find such information.

    I know more about the incident in the report. I think it is a good story -- almost out of an old Hollywood WWII movie. I will happily share it with you if you are interested. I have the bullet! Just contact me again if you would like to read about it.

    I can't help but wonder if your granddad and my father knew each other.

  • Would love to hear the story! I had wondered the same thing

  • I only know some of the story because Dad only told it to my husband who was also a fighter pilot. Dad didn't really talk about his time in WWII. Because I can't relate many details the story is probably more interesting to me than my retelling will be to you.

    When my dad and his airplane got shot up he got separated from his squadron. I don't know what happened to the enemy airplane(s) and pilot--I wish I had thought to ask either Dad or my husband. The fact that he eventually made back to North Africa is kind of a combination of a miracle and skill. Apparently, he got back to his base quite a long time after the rest of the squadron. Almost everyone thought he probably was lost in the sea. But, his crew chief never doubted he was coming back and was waiting by the runway when Dad landed. Dad had a high regard for that man for the rest of his life. I do, too!

    What isn't mentioned in the report is that some of the shrapnel that hit his knee also hit his head. He carried that shrapnel in both places for the rest of his life. In fact, the piece in his head may have contributed to his death.

    Oddly, I was recently contacted here on History Hub by a fellow who was my father's crew chief in Vietnam. I think Dad had a crew chief guardian angel.

Reply
  • I only know some of the story because Dad only told it to my husband who was also a fighter pilot. Dad didn't really talk about his time in WWII. Because I can't relate many details the story is probably more interesting to me than my retelling will be to you.

    When my dad and his airplane got shot up he got separated from his squadron. I don't know what happened to the enemy airplane(s) and pilot--I wish I had thought to ask either Dad or my husband. The fact that he eventually made back to North Africa is kind of a combination of a miracle and skill. Apparently, he got back to his base quite a long time after the rest of the squadron. Almost everyone thought he probably was lost in the sea. But, his crew chief never doubted he was coming back and was waiting by the runway when Dad landed. Dad had a high regard for that man for the rest of his life. I do, too!

    What isn't mentioned in the report is that some of the shrapnel that hit his knee also hit his head. He carried that shrapnel in both places for the rest of his life. In fact, the piece in his head may have contributed to his death.

    Oddly, I was recently contacted here on History Hub by a fellow who was my father's crew chief in Vietnam. I think Dad had a crew chief guardian angel.

Children
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