Frederick Wendall Glover- Unsung Fighter Ace of WWII

21 May 2019

 

 

Freddie “Needle Nose” Glover was born on 4 December1915, a native of Asheville, North Carolina. Shortly after his high school graduation Glover enlisted in the U. S. Navy – having been deceived by the recruiter that he would be enrolled in their Naval flight program. He served in the Navy from 17 October 1934 to 31 January 1939 when he was honorably discharged.

 

During the spring and summer of 1939, he played professional baseball with the Hamilton Red Wings (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) a Saint Louis Cardinals farm team. Throughout the years of 1939 – 1941, Glover pursued his dream of flying by taking private lessons – logging over 100 hours by the summer of 1941.

 

 After an unsuccessful attempt to enlist in the U. S. Army Air Corps during that same summer, he didn’t meet minimum college education requirements. Glover returned to Canada and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on 17 October 1941.

 

Following his completion of flight training, he served as a ferry pilot in England until 26 May 1943 when he was discharged from the RCAF so that he could join the U. S. Army Air Forces. There, Flight Officer Glover continued to serve as a ferry pilot until 10 January 1944 when he began combat training as a P-47 fighter pilot.

On 19 February 1944, after completion of combat training, Glover was transferred to Debden, England where he reported for duty with the 4th Fighter Group, 336 Fighter Squadron (former Eagle Squadron) – arguably the hottest fighter group in the European Theater of Operations.

His first and last P-47 combat mission was on 22 February 1944. His second combat mission was on 29 February 1944. By that time the three squadrons of the 4th Fighter group had converted to P-51’s.

Glover’s first aerial victory came on 6 March 1944, a long nosed FW190, he became an ace on 8 April 1944 with yet another FW190 destroyed. This was only his twelfth combat mission. A few days later, on 20 April 1944, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.

 On 30 April 1944, Glover’s 21st combat mission, he was declared MIA after being shot down while strafing Valences Airdrome near Lyon, France. With the help of Maquis French Resistance forces, Glover made his way across the Pyrenees, into Spain and eventually to Gibraltar and then back to England, earning the Bronze Star for his heroics along the way.

 

Glover returned to active combat flying status and his exploits throughout the remainder of the war are legendary. On 24 August 1944, while still a 1st Lieutenant, he was promoted to Commanding Officer of the 336 Fighter Squadron – a command he held throughout the remainder of the war. He was promoted to the rank of Captain on 11 September 1944 and to Major on 22 December 1944.

By the end of the war, Major Glover was the longest serving Squadron Commanding Officer in the 4th Fighter Group having flown more than 100 combat missions and over 500 combat hours. He was officially credited with 22.83 combat victories (10 ⅓ Aerial and 12 ½ Strafing) including an aerial victory over an Me-163 Komet rocket plane on 2 November 1944, a feat achieved by only a handful of the most skilled USAAF pilots.

His military decorations included: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with Fifteen Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Unit Citation with One Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, Canadian Volunteer Star, British Star Medal with Combat V, European – African – Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and a recommendation for the Distinguished Service Cross, second in importance only to the Congressional Medal of Honor.

After the war, Glover served in a variety of assignments including a stint with the 27th Fighter Wing which at that time was part of the Strategic Air Command. It was here that he teamed up once more with his old 4th Fighter Group mentor and Commanding Officer, Colonel Donald J. M. Blakeslee flying F-82E Twin Mustangs on long range fighter escort missions for SAC Boeing B29 Superfortress bombers.

Major Glover was honorably discharged from the U. S. Air Force on 29 September 1949. Sadly, Major Glover was killed in a flying accident near Hazlehurst, Georgia on July 7, 1956.

 

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