World War II Fighter Pilot Recalls Dangers Escorting Allied Bombers
“It was a lot of fun until they started shooting at us.” So quipped John Hauff, a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army Air Force – when I asked him what it was like up there.
We were talking before our flight aboard the Aluminum Overcast – the Experimental Aviation Association’s vintage B-17 that recently visited the Museum of Flight – from Boeing Field last week.
A P-51 fighter pilot, Hauff escorted B-17 “Flying Fortresses” and B-24 Liberators on bombing runs over Nazi Germany and occupied Europe, from February to October, 1944.
A member of the 339th Fighter Group, 503rd Squadron, Eighth Air Force, he flew 75 missions. “When the bombers told us they were done,” Hauff added, “then we cut loose and had fun and strafed targets on the ground.
A native of New Jersey who today lives in Lakewood, south of Tacoma, Hauff tells the rest of the story in recollections of missions that he’s written.