|Lt. Col. Wallace Fletcher MacGregor
United States Army Air Force
4th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group, 12th Air Force
|Lt. Col. Wallace Fletcher MacGregor, service #0-430828, was born on August 31, 1915 in Wyckoff, New Jersey. A graduate of Central High School in Patterson, New Jersey,
MacGregor would continue his pre-war education at New York University. MacGregor would go on to work for the Mutual Life Insurance Company in New York City from 1932
to 1940, before entering into the United States Army Air Corps in April of 1941.
MacGregor attended primary flight training in Camden, South Carolina, basic flight training in Augusta, Georgia, and r graduated from Advanced Flying School at Craig Field in
Selma, Alabama, earning his wings and a commission in the USAAC as a 2nd Lieutenant.
By 1942, MacGregor would find himself flying P-39's and stationed at Dow Army Air Field in Maine. MacGregor and his squadron were training for and preparing to fly their
P-39's across the Atlantic to England. The group's calculations revealed that any route they attempted to take across the Atlantic Ocean would find all of them in the drink!
MacGregor and the rest of his squadron left their P-39s behind and were sent on to Brooklyn, New York, to embark on convoy ships bound for England. The P-39s were
scheduled to be crated and loaded aboard the convoy ships, but the Lend Lease Act intervened and the P-39's were never seen by the squadron again.
After two weeks of zig-zagging across the Atlantic, MacGregor and his squadron arrived in England. To their surprise, the squadron was outfitted with Spitfire MK VB's. The
squadron would spend several weeks in Londonderry, Ireland, getting check out in their new Spitfires. MacGregor would fly numerous missions with the Royal Air Force in the
German controlled skies of western Europe over the next few weeks.
|A brief history of the 4th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group
The 4th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), later designated as the 4th Fighter Squadron, was activated at
Selfridge Field, Mich., Jan. 15, 1941 and moved to several U.S. Bases before relocating to Northern Ireland
in 1942. For the next three years, until its inactivation in November 1945, the 4th PS traveled between 13
bases in Europe and North Africa. During World War II, the squadron flew P-39 Air Cobras, P-40 Warhawks,
British Spitfires and P-51 Mustangs. The 4th Fighter Squadron destroyed 109 enemy aircraft in aerial combat
and produced three aces during World War II.
|Above: A wartime snapshot of
MacGregor and another pilot identified
as "Bob Kelly of Kentucky" enjoying a
"first beer in several months."
|Above: MacGregor's official United
States Army Air Corps portrait photo.
|Two photographs of MacGregor in his Spitfire Mk VB.
The photograph on the right shows MacGregor sitting in
the Spitfire cockpit with writing on the reverse indicating
the photograph was taken during MacGregor's
introduction to the Spitfire in Northern Ireland. Barely
visible on MacGregor's leather flight jacket is the
squadron patch for the 4th Fighter Squadron.
Also of interest is MacGregor's RAF flying kit.
|If you have any photographs or other items related to Lt. Col. MacGregor's military service time during
WWII, I would be interested to hear from you. I am interested in maintaining as much of Mr. MacGregor's
items together as is possible and preserve the history of his military service during WWII.
|MacGregor as a civilian and then as a United States Army Air Corps aviation cadet.
|A few more mementos from MacGregor's service time. A small photograph of MacGregor in his Air Corps uniform is displayed along with a military style compass
and MacGregor's T-30-V microphone, still contained in its original issue box. Of interest is the Shure Brothers manufactured throat microphone, specifically the
box it is contained in. This is an early type of box used by Shure Brothers, and one is that is not as common as later and more commonly encountered thin,
cardboard style box.
|Above and below: among MacGregor's items were 30 aerial photographs showing various locations from the various theaters of war. These photographs
measure approximately 10 x 5 1/2 inches in size. Above, an aerial photograph of the devastation of Weisbaden, Germany, with the photographs below showing
the well known and well documented destruction of Monte Cassino Abbey, Italy.
|From December 12, 1941 to December 31, 1942, MacGregor would serve in England and North Africa, flying with the 4th Fighter Squadron (FS), 52nd Fighter Group (FG) as a
fighter pilot under Element Leader Captain R.K. Russell. From January 1, 1942 to June 12, 1943, MacGregor served as a fighter pilot and Operations Officers for the 4th FS.
MacGregor would be credited with the following combat victories:
*February 24th, 1943 - One Me-109 probable kill.
*April 4th, 1943 - One Me-109 destroyed.
*April 22nd, 1943 - One Me-109 destroyed.
*May 6th, 1943 - One Me-109 damaged.
|A photograph from MacGregor's grouping shows a post-war formation of F-51 aircraft from the New Mexico Air National Guard. The pilots of the aircraft in the photo are
identified as: (bottom to top) Major R.R. McCord, Captain Herman, Captain Clay Keen and Captain Doc Savage. Documents in MacGregor's grouping indicates these aircraft
were most likely flying out of Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico at the time the photograph was taken.
|This page is dedicated to the military service of Lt. Col. Wallace MacGregor, and the men of the 4th
Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group. If anyone has any additional information concerning Lt. Col.
MacGregor, any of the pilots listed on this page, or the units listed above, I would enjoy hearing from you.
|Post-war photographs showing MacGregor while serving in the United States
|A June 26th, 1956 dated Officer Assignment and Preference Record
provides information concerning MacGregor's career. The document
shows that MacGregor was operating with a Senior Pilot rating, he had
attended a Pilot Combat Crew Training (F-51) in 1951, and a Pilot
Instructor School in 1952. His total flight hours to this date shows he
had 1900 hours in fighters, including 350 hours in jet fighters, 940
hours in twin engined aircraft, 266 hours in four or more engined
aircraft and 205 hours in "other" aircraft. The document shows
MacGregor was a qualified P-80 pilot, with 105 combat missions in the
P-51, and another 71 combat missions in Spitfires. Other military
documents show that MacGregor was a qualified pilot in the P-39,
P-40, P-51, P-47, the Spitfire Mk VB, and the P-80. He was also shown
to be an expert marksman with numerous military munitions including
the Thompson Sub-machine gun.
|Above, MacGregor's War Department ID card and his Suffolk County AAF ID card. To the
right is MacGregor's promotion document to 2nd Lieutenant, dated December 12, 1941, 5 days
after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
|Lt. Col. Wallace F. MacGregor
United States Air Force
|MacGregor's grouping consisted of a very large amount of military service paperwork from his career, ranging from WWII to the 1960's, including his actual 201 file. The
paperwork was extensive and contained everything from orders, promotions, service records, transfers, awards and recognition paperwork. The paperwork collection alone is
extensive and provides detailed information about MacGregor's entire military career in great detail. Thank you to Melissa for caring enough to keep these items together
and preserved as a grouping. They serve as a living testament to the bravery, courage and sacrifice of service performed by Lt. Col. MacGregor during WWII.
| A study of Mr. MacGregor's service time following WWII would encompass a whole other page of information. MacGregor would go on to successfully serve
in various capacities throughout the remainder of his military career, serving with distinction and earning numerous awards for his service.
|MacGregor's original pair of Army Air Corps wings, displayed with a RAF and RCAF
officer's buttons, with MacGregor's RAF pilot flying log book as a backdrop.
|MacGregor sered as a test pilot and attended the Army Air Corps Staff School throughout 1943. From February 15, 1944 to March 4, 1944, MacGregor was assigned to the
442nd FS, 402nd FG at Bryan Field, Texas, undergoing instrument instruction training in the P-47 Thunderbolt. From March 4, 1944 to March 11, 1944, MacGregor underwent
Indoctrination and Orientation training with the P-47. MacGregor was then assigned to Hillsgrove Army Air Base in Rhode Island, where he continued his Indoctrination and
Orientation training with the P-47 from March 11, 1944 to April 10, 1944. Lt. Col. Levi R. Chase is identified as the Base Commander during this time. From April 10, 1944 to May
16, 1944, MacGregor would continue his training in the P-47, accumulating over 131 hours of flight time in The Jug.
On May 17, 1944, MacGregor was assigned as a flight instructor for the P-47, serving in this capacity until October 12, 1944. From October 12, 1944 to November 30, 1944,
MacGregor would serve as the Commandant of Trainees, under the command of Lt. Col. George Logan. From December 1, 1944 to May 23, 1945, MacGregor would serve on the
Standardization Board under the command of Lt. Col. George Logan and Col. Ivan W. McElroy.
MacGregor would end the war having been credited with the destruction of two Messerschmitt Me-109's, a Distinguished Flying Cross (March 22, 1944), the Air Medal with 8
Oak Leaf Clusters (one silver, one bronze), and Campaign medals for Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, the North African Theater of Operations (dated June 12, 1943),
the WWII Victory Medal, and the American Defense Medal.
|MacGregor's Time as POW:
One of the unique items among MacGregor's grouping is a six page, handwritten document written by MacGregor, telling of his time as POW.
On November 10, 1942, MacGRegor and other 4th FS pilots took off from Gibraltar in rather hideous weather, attempting a sortie into North Africa. Shortly after take-off,
MacGregor's leader aborted the flight and the rest of the squadron became separated, with 30,000 feet of overcast. Battling a strong wind and using an old French map of
the area, MacGregor set a course hoping to find other aircraft from his squadron to continue the flight.
Not seeing any other aircraft for some time, and believing that he was over the Atlas mountains near French Morocco, MacGregor began to lose altitude in an effort to find a
break in the overcast. One thing MacGregor indicated he didn't realize at the time was that the French maps they were using were showing altitudes in meters and not feet.
Believing that the height of the mountains were approximately 3000 to 5000 feet, MacGregor continued down. He would later realize that the mountains actually extended to a
height of 10,000 to 15,000 feet!
Continuing down to 15,000 feet, MacGregor was still not out of the overcast and still did not see any other aircraft. After a few seconds at this altitude, MacGregor saw a
huge tree looming directly ahead of him. He made a quick turn to avoid it but struck the tree with the tail of his aircraft, causing his aircraft to flip upside down. MacGregor
found himself without upside down and without elevator control. MacGregor unbuckled his harness and fell out of the aircraft, pulling his ripcord as he cleared the cockpit.
Before his chute could deploy, MacGregor found himself sliding down the side of a muddy mountain in a deep valley. His Spitfire crashed to the ground a short distance away.
After walking for some time, MacGregor came upon an Arab with his donkey. The Arab put MacGregor on the donkey and lead him to a nearby mountain village where he was
given a crude dinner of sorts. Later that night at midnight, MacGregor was awakened and escorted by four Arabs armed with rifles down the mountain. The Arabs took
MacGregor to a French sentry-post, where MacGregor was detained and later taken into custody by two French soldiers.
MacGregor was lead to an old French Foreign Legion Post where he remained as a prisoner of war of the French for 3 days. After the invasion of North Africa and the
capitulation of the French forces, MacGregor's possessions were returned to him and he was allowed to make his way back to his squadron.
|MacGregor taking a bath in
|A Spitfire Mishap:
While conducting research into MacGregor's wartime service, I was able to locate a United States Army Air Corps crash report, investigating the crash of a Spitfire flown
by MacGregor, which occurred on January 3, 1943 at 1030 hours.
A signed statement by MacGregor in the crash report indicates that MacGregor and the 4th Fighter Squadron were no a cross-country flight from La Senia Airdrome to
Maison Blanche , Algeria. MacGregor was number three in his section to land, with his landing being delayed due to repair work being done to the airfield. MacGregor noticed
several trucks on the runway during his go-arounds, which were attending to the repairs.
As MacGregor made what he described as a normal approach, checking to ensure that his landing gear was down and in locked in place, and he was prepared to deal with a
heavy crosswind. As he touched down, he stated he believes his left gear buckled, causing his aircraft to skid to the left, at which time his aircraft collided with on of the
trucks parked near the runway. MacGregor indicated in his statement that he believed his left wheel may have struck a hole on the runway, causing the left side gear to buckle.
The crash report also includes the signed statement of Maj. Ralph E. Keyes, who was approaching to land directly behind MacGregor. Keyes indicated that he saw
MacGregor's aircraft swerve to the left after touchdown and collide with the truck. After landing, Keyes went to the crash scene and contacted several workers who were
nearby at the time of the crash. Keyes' statement indicates that all of the workers agreed that MacGregor had "dropped" the Spitfire onto the runway from approximately 5
feet during his touchdown, and that combined with the strong crosswind caused the accident. Keyes identified the speed of the crosswind at the time of landing to be
approximately 20 miles per hour from the north. The crash report itself identifies the cause of the accident as being "judgement."
Regardless of the cause of the crash, the Spitfire Vb (Aircraft No. ER-538) which MacGregor was flying at the time of the incident was "completely wrecked." The aircraft
at the time only had 61 hours of flight time on it, and the report indicates the aircraft was received by the 4th FS as "new" on September 24, 1942.
|Left: Two post WWII, United States Air Force officers caps, which once belonged to Lt. Col.
MacGregor. Both of the caps have Lt. Col. MacGregor's USAF business card inside the caps.
Thankfully, a very nice couple recently contacted me and helped me to reunite these caps with the
rest of Lt. Col. MacGregor's items.
NOTE: If anyone has any items related to MacGregor's service, I would be interested in hearing