|Howard R. Oglesby Short Snorter
The Short Snorter Project
Howard R. Oglesby, was assigned to the 9th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force. His son, Leonard,
submitted his father's short snorter on January 1, 2010, and writes...
|9th Fighter Squadron, Biak Island, 1944. Lt. H. R. Oglesby (5th from right). Major Bob McComsey (center)
|Lt. Howard R. Oglesby and P-38, Gusap, New Guinea, 1944.
|Lt. Howard R. Oglesby and P-47, New Guinea, 1943.
"He first flew P-47's in New Guinea. The squadron converted back to P-38's in 1944. At that time Charles
Lindbergh made a tour of the South West Pacific Theater as a Lockheed technical representative. He spent
time with most of the P-38 squadrons in the area to give them tips on extending range for the P-38. Lindbergh
flew a mission as my father's wingman, from Biak Island to Balikpapen, Borneo, which turned out to be the
longest fighter escort mission of the entire war in any theater.
He was one of the first fighters at the Leyte landings, and flew escort for the Japanese surrender envoys on
August 21, 1945, for their return to Japan. On August 30, 1945, he was a member of the 8 plane MacArthur
Honor Guard flight into Tokyo. He ended the war with 150 missions and 400 combat hours, credited with four
kills, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, plus 5 Oak Leaf Clusters.
The short snorter is signed by Lindbergh, Tom "Mac" McGuire (2nd highest scoring U.S. ace of the war, who
was on the same mission), Robert M. DeHaven (7th Fighter Squadron ace with 14 kills, and brother of actress
Gloria DeHaven) and Major Robert (Bob) McComsey, commander of 9th Fighter Squadron."
Tom "Mac" McGuire
Robert (Bob) McComsey
Robert M. DeHaven
|Another group shot of the 9th Fighter Squadron. Howard R. Oglesby is 4th from left. Robert McComsey is center.
Howard R. Oglesby is standing 6th from right in this photo, directly behind the female with her head back. The guy seated
between the two ladies is a very drunk and skinny John Wayne. This was taken at the Officer's Club at Buna, New Guinea.
Leanord also wrote,
"The one thing I learned from my father and some of the other 9th FS flyers I have known, was as fighter pilots
they all had the overwhelming feeling of youthful immortality. They all seemed to believe that it was always going
to be somebody else who would be hurt or killed. My father has told me of the two times he was actually
The first time was after a low level attack on the Japanese held harbor of Fac Fac New Guinea. He had made a
strafing run on a warehouse and it exploded in front of him blowing debris several hundred feet into the air. An
ammo case became lodged in the radiator intake of one of his P-38 engines and he had to make the return flight
of over 200 miles on one engine. He refers to that as the day he got blown up.
The other was after the Leyte landings at Tacloban in the Philippines. He said the metal airstrip of the beach at
Tacloban was like an aircraft carrier with very little room for taxiing. This was made worse as the strip was
crowded with navy planes from carriers damaged, or sunk during the naval battle taking place the same day. He
was taxiing to take off on an intercept mission, when a lone "Zeke" or Zero made a single strafing pass of the
landing strip attacking the line up of P38's from behind. My father's crew chief had been riding on the wing and
when the attack began he tried to run along the wing to jump into a trench at the edge of the strip. He did not
make it. Dad says he was hunkered down behind the armor plated seat back, watching his crew chief as he was
hit, and saw the crew chief's leg blown off. He died later that day. The Japanese pilot was shot down by
antiaircraft fire at the end of his run. He survived and was taken prisoner. He had destroyed 3 P38's and
seriously damaged 8 others in his single pass. Now the story gets strange. My father and some of the other
flyers went to see the "gook" flyer and found he was an English speaking U.S. born & educated Japanese who
had returned to Japan in 1940."