See a VERY large photo by clicking here

The wonderful photo above was submitted by the nephew of one of the pilots pictured :  William Goetz (above) is the Uncle of  John Goetz, who's family has had this photo for many years.  On 03 Jan 43, while piloting mission #9  to St. Nazaire, France in a B-17 ,  William Goetz's plane blew up in mid-air during a fighter attack over St. Nazaire. All 10 crewmen were KIA.  No part of the aircraft has ever been found.

William Goetz,  back row on the left.


It's also interesting to note that one of the other pilots is the famous Herbert J. Thomas,  for whom the Thomas Memorial Hospital is named after.  For those who may not know,  Herbert J.  Thomas Jr. (February 8, 1918 - November 7, 1943) was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and a Medal of Honor recipient for his heroic actions during World War II. Sergeant Thomas was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during combat versus Japanese forces on the Solomon Islands (on November 7, 1943).  Thomas actually enlisted in the Army Air Corps, but transferred to the Marines because many of his friends were in that branch of service.

The photo was taken by the Army Air Corp and was published in the Charleston Daily Mail Sept 1941.

There are family members around the state that might not have a copy of this photo.  If you'd like to print a copy,  click on the link under the photo and it will enlarge suitable for printing.  If you have any other photos you'd like to add to this page,  contact me. 

And now another special treat:

Click here for a larger photo of Sam

This is Charleston Native Samuel T Howie.  Bet you never heard of him.

Sam shot down 3 Japanese Dive Bombers in one fight, flying a Lockheed P-38 Lightning

He also shot down a Japanese Zero flying the same plane.

Sam Howie was born and raised in Charleston in 1918.  His father died when he was 2, so his mother had to raise him and his siblings alone.  They lived on Washington Street E,  Ruffner Hollow, and Piedmont Road near the Capitol.  Times were tough, the depression had hit, and yet Sam's mother managed to place him in Sacred Hear Catholic School from 1st grade until 11th grade.  The money finally became even more scarce and so Sam spent his last year at Charleston High and graduated there.  He attended a couple of small colleges including Morris Harvey, but didnt graduate.  The war was about to begin....

Sam had taken a ride at Glenn Clark's seaplane base at the levy, and thought it was pretty neat.  So being drafted, he took the test to become a pilot and passed with flying colors.  He was sent to California (as most of our local pilots were) for training.  Soon, he found himself  over the Solomon Islands near Guadalcanal.   It was here that he shot down the 4 Japanese aircraft,  3 in one fight. This was in 1942.  The P-38 sported four 50 cal machine guns and a 30mm cannon.  He told me that he used them to their fullest.

The government  decided that Sam would be of great service to the cause in training pilots in the U.S. 

His battle time was up anyway and he was transfered to several air bases in the U.S. The first base was in Michigan where he trained the graduates of Tuskegee,   who needed experience in real fighter aircraft, and would come to be known as the Tuskegee Airmen.  

At the outbreak of World War II,  Selfridge kept on turning out new units. It trained three squadrons of the first all-black 332d Fighter Group, popularly known as The Tuskegee Airmen Distinguished Unit Citations332d Fighter Group: 24 March 1945: for the longest bomber escort mission of World War II

Sam was later transferred to South Carolina, and then  North Carolina  to train more pilots.  When the war was finally over,  Sam left the military and never flew again.  He got a job with Reynolds Aluminum and moved to Florida, where he has lived ever since.

He was one kill away from becoming an ACE, when he was called back to the states to train pilots.

 339th Fighter Squadron

This appeared in the Gazette and Daily Mail, Nov 1st, 1943


Sam is now 92 years old and sharp as a tack.  I had the pleasure of talking to him by phone for 30 minutes.  I told him that far too many men like himself had been forgotten, and that I wanted to feature him as a symbol of the many men that didnt make ACE,  or died trying....


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