Capt. John F. Coonan

(W. Staggs via C. Smith)

Capt. John F. Coonan

38th FS - 08 September 1944 - 03 January 1945 (Prisoner of War)

Assigned Aircraft

P-51D CG-P 44-14358 "Portland Rose"

Mission History

34 missions

Mission List
55th FG Mission # Date Target
232 12 September 1944 Leipzig (flew as Yellow 2) (returned early at 12:35 with Oxygen Regulator failure)
233 13 September 1944 Merseberg (flew as Blue 2)
234 17 September 1944 Operation Market Garden (flew as Red 3)
235 18 September 1944 Airborne Army Support Arnhem (flew as Blue Leader)
236 19 September 1944 Osnabruck (flew as Blue Leader)
237 20 September 1944 Airborne Support - Arnhem (flew as Blue Leader)
238 21 September 1944 Mainz (flew as Red 2)
239 23 September 1944 Apeldorn to Cleve (flew as Red Leader)
245 02 October 1944 Kassel (flew as Red Leader)
247 03 October 1944 Giebelstadt (flew as Yellow Leader)
248 05 October 1944 Munster (flew as Yellow Leader)
250 07 October 1944 Leipzig (flew as Yellow Leader)
251 09 October 1944 Schweinfurt (flew as Yellow Leader)
255 15 October 1944 Cologne (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
257 18 October 1944 Kassel/Mittefeld (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
258 19 October 1944 Mannheim (flew as Yellow Leader)
259 22 October 1944 Munster (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
262 30 October 1944 Merseberg (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
263 02 November 1944 Merseberg (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
266 06 November 1944 Neumunster (flew as Blue Leader)
267 08 November 1944 Merseberg (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
268 09 November 1944 Thionville (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
270 10 November 1944 Photo Reconaissance Merseberg (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
274 20 November 1944 Malmedy (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
275 21 November 1944 Meppen (flew as white Leader)
276 25 November 1944 Merseberg (flew as Program White Leader)
280 30 November 1944 Merseberg (flew as Program White Leader)
282 04 December 1944 Mainz (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
283 05 December 1944 Berlin (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
287 12 December 1944 Darmstadt (flew as Program Flight Leader)
288 15 December 1944 Hannover (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
295 28 December 1944 Irlich (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
296 29 December 1944 Frankfurt (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
299 01 January 1945 Magdeburg (flew as Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
301 03 January 1945 Bad Kreuznach (flew as "A" Group Squadron Leader)(White Leader)
Air Scores
2.5-0-0 (plus 1 air with 51st FG)
Ground Scores
Score Detail 13 September 1944  Me-109 destroyed (air) Erfurt
02 November 1944  (.5)FW-190 destroyed (air) W/Merseburg
03 January 1945  Ar-196 destroyed (air) SE Ulm
Notes Born in Boise, Idaho, 24 April 1918.
Entered service from Portland, Oregon.
ASN - O-432132
ex-51st Fighter Group, CBI
08 September 1944 - Joined the 38th Fighter Squadron
06 October 1944 - Promoted from 1st Lieutenant to Captain
October 1944 - Awarded 2 Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal
January 1945 - Awarded 5th Oak Leaf Custer to the Air Medal

03 January 1945 - Prisoner of War
MACR No. 11525
2/Lt. Robert Jones reported: "Capt. Coonan was leading a flight (section) of eight Mustangs approximately 10 to 20 miles south of Ulm, Germany.  Several German trainer planes were spotted flying formation a few thousand feet below us.  Captain Coonan led the attack and shot down one enemy plane.  Several seconds later he said he had been hit. At low altitude he passed over a small town and belly landed on a snow covered field adjacent to this town. I took several camera shots of the airplane which seemed to be in good condition, and while doing this I did not observe the pilot's presence in or around the plane. The remaining seven planes then proceeded towards home."

German J 2735, reported the capture of Capt. Coonan at 1300 on January 3, 1945, at Gutensell, near Laupheim. The aircraft was reported 12 to 15 percent damaged. The report further stated that Capt. Coonan was shot down by "friendly aircraft, Mustang!" The letters on the aircraft were CG-P. The report, which was addressed to Evaluation Center West, Oberursel, also contained the names of 16 pilots, (the entire 38th Ftr. Sqdn.), with their corresponding plane identification letters and pilot's name that had flown on that mission! This was one of the many reasons Hanns Scharff, the interrogator at Oberursel, could name familiar members of the prisoner's squadron to him.

While in prison camp, at Stalag Luft I, Coonan was quoted as saying that if he caught that son of-a-bitch (in his flight) who shot him down he'd kill him! 
Lt. Dudley Amoss recalls: "While at Stalag Luft I, I ran into Jack Coonan. He told me that his wingman had shot him down. I had to level with him and tell him that it was me who shot him down! I explained that I saw what appeared to be a lone Me109 flying low on the deck, heading into Germany. It was a long, long, shot. I gave him a lot of lead and fired. He crash landed. Much to my horror, as I passed over him, I recognized the plane as a P-51. Jack didn't get angry. He just grimaced and shook his head."
Reproduced with kind permission of Mr. Robert M. Littlefield from the author's book Double Nickel - Double Trouble.

Additional Photos Lt. Coonan's medals

Maj. Coonan's 'Heinie Honking & Loco Busting' certificate

Maj. Coonan in an Oregon newspaper press clipping
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