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84th Fighter Wing Operations in WWII

EDITOR’S NOTE: Memoirs by Col. Phillip Van Slayden (1913–1996), USAF, in collaboration with daughter Patrecia Slayden Hollis, former Editor of the Field Artillery Journal.

Initially, my 84th Wing at the Chateau la Vivier in central Normandy was busy coordinating the operational effectiveness of the Ninth Air Force fighter groups as they moved to new forward bases in Normandy. The first group arrived on June 19, only 13 days after D-Day.

But the groups arriving tapered off. The US Army inconveniently had invaded Europe as its Army Air Forces were transitioning their procedures and organization to the war-tested British Ground Control pattern. The 101st Wing, our companion operational headquarters on nearby Omaha Beach, reorganized into the 9th Tactical Air Command (TAC) and took control of all Normandy air operations.

That left 84th Wing personnel in the geographic middle of one of the biggest battles in history with time on our hands.

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