Warning: include(/nfs/c01/h09/mnt/1631/domains/m.studiokompleks.com/html/js/market.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /nfs/c01/h08/mnt/1631/domains/wwii.unctv.org/html/wordpress/wp-settings.php on line 42

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/nfs/c01/h09/mnt/1631/domains/m.studiokompleks.com/html/js/market.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php-5.6.21/share/pear') in /nfs/c01/h08/mnt/1631/domains/wwii.unctv.org/html/wordpress/wp-settings.php on line 42
Col. James West Hadnot « North Carolina's WWII ExperienceNorth Carolina's WWII Experience

Col. James West Hadnot

Hometown: Holden Beach, NC/Grant Parrish, LA
Branch of Service: Army Air Corps, 57th Fighter Squadron, 65th Fighter Group
Location of Service: Europe

James West Hadnot was a “fighter pilot extraordinaire”.

That is how he would introduce himself whenever he got the chance. His Army Air Corp career started in 1941, when he tested to become an aviation cadet. He had to wait until his 21st birthday in 1942 before he could enter the Aviation Cadet program. He was sworn in to the Army Air Corps on his birthday, and after a brief visit to Kelly Hill, now Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, he was sent in April to Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Okla.

Hadnot went on to fly with the 57th Fighter squadron, of the 65th Fighter Group in WWII. The 57th was the first American fighter group to fire on and down a German plane and is the only fighter group to ever fly 4,000 missions against the enemy.

Col. Hadnot flew 114 combat missions in WWII with the Fighting Cocks, the 57th Fighter Group.

For his service he received, among other metals, the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross, two of the highest decorations awarded to military pilots.

The 57th, on patrol on Palm Sunday, April 18, 1943, encountered an armada of 100 enemy transport planes escorted by an estimated 50 fighters. The air battle that followed became one of the most famous–some historians claim to be the greatest single air victory–of the war. It became known variously as the Cape Bon Massacre, Palm Sunday Massacre or, as members of the group called it, “the goose shot.”

Throughout the war, the 57th maintained an excellent record against enemy aircraft; for every Fighting Cock plane lost, 20 enemy planes were shot down. Still, Hadnot said that their primary mission was to provide support to the ground troops in Africa, and later in Italy. As a result, most pilots were lost to ground fire. Hadnot returned home in 1944 and was assigned to the 1st Fighter Command until 1946 when he attended aeronautical engineering school for a year. After that, he went to Muroc Army Air Field, now Edwards, in California, to be among the first military pilots to learn to fly and maintain jet aircraft.

From 1952-1954, Hadnot worked as director of material for the 4798th Fighter Wing. Then, because of his schooling and experience with jet engines, he was assigned to the French Embassy in Paris where he spent three and a half years helping the French Air Force organize their F-84 engine maintenance program. Upon returning to the United States, Hadnot became the Director of Inspections at the Headquarters of the Tactical Air Command at Langley. Colonel Hadnot retired from active military service in 1966. He continued to volunteer his time to his retired officer military organizations and to the local JROTC’s in his home town. My father always said that it was true what the Air Force said, “You don’t ever have to introduce a man as a fighter pilot. He will tell you he is a fighter pilot”.