434th Fighter Squadron

Squadron Motto: “Tutor Et Ultor” (Protect and Avenge)

Squadron Code: L2

The 434th Fighter Squadron was activated at on 15th October 1943 at Long Beach, California, equipped with P-38F Lightnings.

On 15th May 1944 the 434th Fighter Squadron, as part of the 479th Fighter Group arrived at Wattisham with P-38J Lightnings to provide long range fighter escort for the 8th Air Force bombers. The Group was led by Lt. Col. Kyle L. Riddle and were known as “Riddle’s Raiders”. They also had a secondary tasking of low level seek and destroy missions against railways, ammunition dumps and airfields.

In June 1944 the 434th Fighter Squadron took part in D-Day, and continued their low level strafing sorties across Europe.

On 29th July 1944 history was made when 434th Fighter Squadron pilot Captain Arthur F. Jeffrey became the first person to shoot down a rocket propelled Me.163 Komet.

September 1944 saw the squadron convert to the P-51D Mustang, and by the end of the war, they had racked up an impressive number of air and ground targets destroyed.

The 434th Fighter Squadron had a number of aces, including Arthur F. Jeffrey (14 aerial victories), Robin Olds (13 aerial victories) and George W. Gleason (12 aerial victories).

The 479th Fighter Group departed Wattisham in November 1945, for Kilmar, New Jersey.

434th FS P-51D. Image from American Air Museum.