"The American Beagle Squadron"
This sculpture is a memorial to the men who served
with the squadron in combat during World War 2
[Dedicated] 18 October 1986
Combat in the Spitfire
From September 1942 through April 1944 the squadron flew combat missions in Spitfires supplied by Great Britain under the Reverse Lend-Lease Agreement. During the North African Campaign the squadron carried out harbor and airfield patrols, fighter sweeps and escort missions for cargo planes, medium bombers, attack planes and fighter bombers. In these operations 9 pilots were killed, 3 became prisoners of war, and 44 enemy aircraft were destroyed in the air. The squadron, in the Sicilian and Italian Campaigns, carried out harbor and convoy patrols, scrambles after enemy reconnaissance aircraft, fighter sweeps, dive-bombing missions, reconnaissance missions and escort missions for medium bombers. 3 pilots were killed, 5 became prisoners of war and 22 enemy aircraft were destroyed in the air, and dive-bombing and strafing, destroyed or damaged considerable enemy material.
Combat in the P-51 Mustang
In April 1944 the squadron was equipped with the P-51, Mustang, long-range fighter. From 10 May 1944 until early May 1945 the squadron, based near Termoli, Italy, carried out escort missions for heavy bombers over Europe and an escort mission for P-38 fighter bombers to the Ploesti oil fields which involved landing at a base near Kiev, Russia, refueling, rearming, and in a day or two flying back to Ploesti and then to its base in Italy. In addition its pilots flew many strafing missions against German airfields, trains, trucks and tanks. On these missions 18 pilots were killed, 13 became prisoners of war, and 117 enemy aircraft were destroyed in the air. Strafing missions destroyed or damaged many enemy aircraft and inflicted substantial damage to enemy equipment and installations, but these hazardous missions took the lives of 12 of the 18 pilots who were killed and accounted for 9 of the 13 pilots who became prisoners of war.