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Wrong Jack Ilfrey?

Jack Milton Ilfrey

Operations Officer

79th FS

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I agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand that I will receive a subscription to ZoomInfo Community Edition at no charge in exchange for downloading and installing the ZoomInfo Contact Contributor utility which, among other features, involves sharing my business contacts as well as headers and signature blocks from emails that I receive.

Background Information

Employment History

Aviation Cadet

Army Corps


Affiliations

94th Fighter Squadron

Member


Education

High School


Texas A&M College


Web References(61 Total References)


P-51D Then and Now 3

warbirdsim.com [cached]

Jack Milton Ilfrey, pilot of the original ?Happy Jack?s Go Buggy?, the 20th Fighter Group Association, Mike Vadeboncoeur and the rest of the talented crew at Midwest Aero Restorations, and Bruce ?Doc?
Jack Ilfrey, a native of Houston, Texas, entered the USAAF in early 1941, graduating as part of the first wartime class of pilots at Luke Field, Arizona on December 12, 1941 (Class 41-I). Ilfrey was assigned to the 1st Pursuit Group, flying P-38s along the California coast before the Group changed to the 1st Fighter Group and was ordered to England as part of the first wave of fighters and bombers coming over from the U.S. This was part of the ?Bolero Mission? (made famous in recent years with the recovery and restoration of the P-38 ?Glacier Girl?, which was lost on one of these flights). The first combat mission of the 1st FG was flown on September 1, 1942 - a low level fighter sweep over France. Transferring southward, Ilfrey and the rest of the 1st Fighter Group flew in support of ?Operation Torch?, the invasion of North Africa. During this time Ilfrey was credited with shooting down a Me-110, several Me-109?s, and two Fw-190?s, making him one of the first P-38 aces of the war (possibly the first). Following this tour of duty, with 208 combat hours and 72 missions under his belt, Ilfrey was sent back to the U.S. in early 1943 to serve as a flight instructor on P-38?s and P-47?s. In April 1944, Capt. Jack Ilfrey returned to England as the Operations Officer of the 79th FS, 20th FG, equipped with P-38?s, based at King?s Cliffe, Northamptonshire, England. In May of ?44, Ilfrey was credited with two more Me-109?s shot down. On June 6, D-Day, Ilfrey flew three patrols over the Normandy beaches as the Allied invasion played out below. On June 12, after completing a successful bombing run on a bridge in France, Ilfrey was shot down while strafing a nearby train. Although coming down 200 miles behind enemy lines, he was able to escape through the help of French locals, disguised as a French farmer. Jack was back in England in just six days, and although it was mandatory for all pilots who escaped capture to be sent back to the U.S., he was able to get around the rules and right back into combat flying. The 20th FG converted to the ?new on the scene? P-51D in July 1944, receiving a number of P-51D-5-NA models, the earliest production variant of the P-51D, which were just beginning to arrive to England in early June. It was at this time that Jack received P-51D-5-NA 44-13761 as his own. All P-51?s in England at this time, which were finished in bare metal and silver paint from the factory, had a black identification stripe applied to each wing, both horizontal and vertical tail fins, and a black painted nose ? this was done at depot level before the aircraft were assigned out to individual Groups. These markings were developed as a method for the bomber crews and other fighter pilots to be able to quickly identify the aircraft as a friendly. Each 8th AF Fighter Group was also assigned either a one-color or two-tone color scheme for the Groups to apply to the noses of their aircraft in order to identify themselves apart from the other Groups. In the case of the 20th FG, their assigned two-color scheme was black and white, and so with the noses of their Mustangs already painted black, all that was added was white paint to the first half of the spinner, and a white band at the rear of the black paint on the nose. Jack named his P-51 the same as his P-38 before, ?Happy Jack?s Go Buggy?, and re-applied all of the mission markings on the nose of his P-51 as there were accumulated from his service before: With the P-51D?s, Ilfrey and the 20th FG participated in the Russian shuttle mission ?Operation Frantic VI?, flying to Russia, then to Italy, and back to England. Shortly there after, Jack was promoted to Major, but due to the celebrations that followed, Ilfrey was bumped all the way down to 2nd Lt. He did however remain in command of the Squadron, making him the only 2nd Lt. to ever command a Fighter Squadron during WWII (something that Jack was always fond of retelling). He was soon promoted back to Captain, however, by Gen. Jack continued flying combat missions, leading the 79th FG into the fall of ?44. By this time, the 20th FG updated their nose markings into a pattern that has since been referred to as ?piano keys?. Keeping the first black and white bands on the nose, the new markings expanded on these with 7 more black and 6 more white bands. By this time the invasion stripes had come off completely and preparing for the colder fall and winter months, the normally perforated carburetor filter panels were replaced with solid, cold weather panels. In early December of ?44, after a total of 70 combat missions and 320 combat flying hours from this, his second tour, Jack was once again, and finally, reassigned to stateside duties until the end of the war. By December 1945, when he left the USAAF, his rank had been reestablished at Major. Following WWII, Jack went to work as a pilot, flying a Beech 18 he purchased himself, for a Texas based construction company, and also trained pilots at Hondo, Texas in the late 40?s/early 50?s. With his eyesight fading, Ilfrey?s flying career also faded away, though he would find a new career in banking. He would go onto become the lead historian, and one-time president, of the 20th Fighter Group Association and the editor of its newsletter, Kings Cliffe Remembered. He also became active in the 8th AF Historical Society, the 1st Fighter Group Association, The American Fighter Aces Association, the Commemorative Air Force, and the P-38 National Association. Jack was known within aviation, historian/researcher, and modeling circles as a person very generous with his time and in sharing his invaluable knowledge with others. Originally written by Jack in 1946, after much persuasion, in 1979 he finally published his autobiography of his experiences during the war, titled Happy Jack?s Go Buggy, which is regarded as one of the best written accounts of the life of a USAAF pilot during WWII. The book was once again re-published in 1998, in expanded form. Residing in San Antonio, Texas in the later years of his life, Jack Ilfrey sadly passed away on October 15, 2004 - the last remaining ace of the 20th FG. Ilfrey, one of the greatest fighter pilots and leaders of the war (and a fellow Texan). Some paint chipping and other wear & tear from use, though the aircraft is presented as cleaned up for the cameras (when Jack Ilfrey was photographed with the aircraft in the summer of ?44).


P-38 Lightning Aces

p38assn.org [cached]

Jack Ilfrey has been described this way:
"Jack Ilfrey is a real-life cross between Hans Solo and Indiana Jones. Of course, Jack pre-dates those fictional characters by more that 35 years. Flying P38 Lightnings and the P51 Mustang, Jack was involved in events that would leave Steve Canyon trembling like a mouse." By Jack Ilfrey & Mark S. Copeland This autobiography was originally written in 1946 by eight-victory WWII Fighter Ace, Jack Ilfrey. This new edition has been expanded with many new photographs (many never before published), a special color photo section, and three detailed aircraft profile paintings. The reader will fly through the skies with Ilfrey in his P-38 as he and his unit, the famed 94th Fighter Squadron, become the first group of American aircraft to fly from the USA to England. Thrill to the stories of aerial combat over North Africa as Ilfrey becomes one of America's first WWII air aces. Marvel at the flying exploits of Ilfrey as a member of the 20th Fighter Group/8th Air Force and join him on his incredible evasion story through German occupied France. You'll read of such famous aces as Jack Ilfrey in his P-38 "Happy Jack's Go Buggy" and Jim Morris in his "'Til We Meet Again. Jack Milton Ilfrey was born July 31, 1920 in Houston, Texas, graduated from Mirabeau Lamar Senior High School there and went on to Texas A&M, where he learned to fly in the first Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) in 1939. He had secondary Civilian Pilot Training Program at the University of Houston in 1940 while working for the Hughes Tool Company at night. Jack entered the Army Air Corp as an Aviation Cadet in April,I941 and graduated at Luke Field, Arizona in the first wartime class (12 DEC 41). He was assigned to the 94th Pursuit Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group, flying the P38 Ds and Es in defense of the Southern California coastline. In the spring of 1942, the 1st Fighter Group (as they were now designated,) were equipped with new P38 and were ordered to Dow Field, Maine, to prepare for the "Bolero Mission" -- the first mass flight of fighter planes and bombers to England. "We called it the Guinea Pig Mission, cause that is what we were. Ilfrey said. On July 4, 1942, the 94th. On July 26th., most of the 94th FS (including Ilfrey,) landed at Kirton, in Lindsey, Lincolnshire, England. Shortly after take off, Ilfrey lost a belly tank, which meant he would not have enough fuel to complete the mission. He calculated that he had enough to make an emergency landing in Gibraltor, but his calculations proved incorrect and he was forced to make an emergency landing in a very German friendly Portugal. Immediately upon landing he was informed that, as the country was neutral, all pilots and aircraft from outside countries that landed there would be interned. Jack escaped internment by tricking the local military authorities into refueling his P-38F. Once that was accomplished, he offered to show them how to start the engines. With Portuguese officers still kneeling on the wings, Jack firewalled the throttles and pulled the canopy closed as his hapless captors were blown off like leaves. Without the time to taxi to a runway, Ilfrey takes off straight ahead. He then navigated to Gibraltar by compass alone. The diplomatic flap caused by Jack's bold escape results in the State Department demanding that he be sent back! General Jimmy Doolittle would have none of that, and he stepped in and smoothed things out for Jack. The action continued when, on the following day, he damaged another Bf-109 over Bizerte Harbor. He received a commendation for his actions from the Chief of Staff, US Army, on February 3, 1943. After a total of 5-1/2 air to air victories, 2 confirmed damaged enemy aircraft, 208 combat hours and 72 missions, Jack was relieved of combat duty and reassigned to the states as a flight instructor in P-38s and P-47 Thunderbolts. In April 1944 Jack went back to the ETO and became Squadron Commander of the 79th Ftr. Sq. 20th Ftr. Grp. flying P38's at King's Cliffe. On May 24 he was credited with 2 ME 109's'in a hairy dog fight near Berlin. One of the 109's collided with his P38 and ripped off 4 1/2 -5 feet of his right wing, but he was able to return to England. On June 13 after successfully dive bombing a railway bridge over the Loire River near Angers, Jack was shot down while strafing a train near there -- some 200 miles below the front lines. He evaded capture and was back in England in 4 days. It was along this time that Maj. Ilfrey was busted to 2nd Lt. for infractions of the rules, but was left in command of the 79th Sq. His claim to fame (or infamy) is that he was probably the only 2nd Lt. CO of a Combat Fighter Squadron during the war -- at least for a few days -- until he started his promotional climb back. He was again saved by Gen. Doolittle C.O. 8th A.F. at the persuasion of Col. Jack Ilfrey passed away October 15, 2004. Signed by Capt. Jack Ilfrey, pilot of "Happy Jack's Go Buggy," this limited edition print features a wonderful depiction of the aircraft, and also documents the amazing wartime exploits of P-38 ace, Capt. Jack Ilfrey. Print measures 18"x 12" and is also signed by the artist.


a2jacketart.tumblr.com

Captain Jack Ilfrey's nickname was Happy Jack, which is where the name of his P-38J-15-LO Lightning got it's name "Happy Jack's Go Buggy" from.
Ilfrey was a member of the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group during the Second World War in the ETO and was one of the more unique men of the war. While on his first of two combat tours in Europe, serving with the 1st Fighter Group, he caused an international incident when he landed his P-38 in nuetral Portugal, low on fuel. He (somehow) managed to talk the Portuguese into giving him enough fuel to finish his trip and took off. However, following proper procedure, all aircrew and ships that land in a neutral country during a time of war are supposed to be interned till the end of hostilities. This broke neutrality laws of war, and his leaving caused a big fluster. While the German pilot didn't survive the collision, Ilfrey managed to fly his badly crippled plane back to base and fight another day. In another incident, he was busted down to 2nd Lt. after the celebration for his promotion to Major got slightly out of hand on base. Ilfrey was acting CO of the 79th Fighter Squadron at the time, giving him the claim of fame of being the only 2nd Lt. to command a combat fighter squadron in the USAAF. Ilfrey took large risks when others wouldn't as well. He landed his P-51 Mustang behind enemy lines in Holland simply to pick up his downed wingman when he was ordered not too. Both of the men managed to squeeze into the plane's cockpit for the short flight to Brussels, Belgium. He was also shot down during a strafing mission over France on June 13, 1944. With a lot of help from the French Maquis, Ilfrey managed to make over 200 miles back to Allied lines dressed as a French farmer.


Jack Ilfrey

www.airartcsbailey.com [cached]

Jack Ilfrey
Jack llfrey was born July 31, 1920 in Houston, Texas. He graduated from high school there and went on to Texas A&M where he learned to fly in the first Civilian Pilot Training Program in 1939. He entered Army Air Corp as an Aviation Cadet, April 1941. He graduated 1941 I Luke Field, Arizona, in the first war time class, Dec. 12, 1941, and was assigned to the 94th Pursuit Group flying P38 D and E's in defense of the Southern California coast. Shortly out Ilfrey lost a belly tank but calculated he could make Gibraltar. Calculations proved wrong and he had to land in Lisbon, Portugal where he was immediately told that he and the P38 would be interned. However, he conned the Portuguese out of some gas, fired up and made an unauthorized take off. By the time he got to Gibraltar and International incident had flared up. At the urging of the State Department, Gen. Eisenhower was to send him back to Lisbon but Gen. Doolittle stepped in and saved the day for Jack. Jack was awarded a commendation letter from Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, dated 3rd Feb. 1943 for being one of the first aces in the 12th Air Force Mediterranean Theater, for shooting down his 5th plane the day after Christmas 1942. Historians now say he was the First Ace in a P38, but did not prove it with official records. He is also considered to be Houston's first ace. After 208 combat hours, 72 missions, he was relieved from combat duty and returned to the states and instructed in P38's and P47's. In April of 1944 Jack went back to the E. T. O. and became Squadron Commander of the 79th Fighter Group, flying P38's. On May 24th he was credited with 2 ME 109's in a hairy dog fight near Berlin. One of the 109's collided with his P38 and ripped off 4 % to 5 feet of his right wing. He was still able to return to England. On June 6, 1944 - D-Day - he flew 3 patrols over the Normandy Landings (10 hours in a P38). On June the 20th converted to P51 D's and went on Frantic VI, Shuttle Mission to Russia, Italy and back to England. It was about this time the Maj. Ilfrey was busted to 2nd Lt. For infractions of the rules, but was left in command of the 79th Squadron. His claim to fame... or infamy.... Is that he was probably the only 2"d Lt. Jack is presently a Director of the 8th Air Force Historical Society and the P38 National Association. Jack Ilfrey


Capt. Jack M. Ilfrey - Commanding Officer

www.fightin79th.com [cached]

Jack Milton Ilfrey was born 31 July, 1920 in Houston, Texas.
His father was a fighter pilot during World War I and later became the cashier of the First National Bank. Ilfrey graduated from High School and went on to Texas A&M College for two years. While in college he learned to fly in the first Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) in 1939. He continued with the CPTP at the University of Houston during the day while employed by The Hughes Tool Co. during the evenings. Ilfrey entered the US Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet in April of 1941. He graduated with the first wartime class of pilots at Luke Field, Arizona, on 12 December, 1941, (Class 41-I) and was assigned to the famed 94th Pursuit "Hat In The Ring " Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group. His first assignment found him flying P-38D and E's in defense of the California coastline. In the spring of 1942, the 1st Fighter Group (as they were now designated,) were equipped with new P-38Fs and were ordered to Dow Field, Maine to prepare for the "Bolero Mission," the first mass flight of fighter planes and bombers to England. "We called it the 'Guinea Pig Mission', cause that is what we were," Ilfrey once stated. Shortly after take off, Ilfrey lost a belly tank, which meant he would not have enough fuel to complete the mission. He calculated that he had enough to make an emergency landing in Gibraltar, but his calculations proved incorrect and he was forced to land in Lisbon, Portugal. Immediately upon landing he was informed that, as the country was officially neutral, all pilots and aircraft from outside countries that landed there would be interned. Ilfrey agreed with the Portuguese authorities when they asked him to show a pilot the controls of his P-38 and, as the pilot sat on the wing, he started up the engines. As a second P-38 came in for an emergency landing he saw his chance, shoved the throttles forward and the propwash blew the Portuguese pilot off of the plane. An international incident flared before he had even taxied the Lightning down the runway. He finally made it to Gibraltar, where he later was informed that the US State Department was demanding for him to return to Lisbon, but the Commander of American Operations at Gibraltar cabled Washington that Ilfrey had already left for North Africa before the cable had arrived. Jack soon put all of his training into action over North Africa. On 29 November he shared credit for downing a Messerschmitt Me-110 near Gabes Airdrome, in Tunisia. On 2 December he downed two Messerschmitt Me-109s over Gabes Airdrome, Tunisia, and on 26 December he shot down two Focke Wulf Fw 190s five miles west of Bizerte. On 11 January, 1943 he damaged a Me-109 five miles north of Gabes Airdrome and on 3 March he downed another Me-109 near El Aounia, Tunisia, making him one of the first aces (many believe he was the first) who flew P-38s. The action continued when, on the following day, he damaged another Me-109 over Bizerte Harbor. He received a commendation for his actions from the Chief of Staff, US Army, on 3 February, 1943. After a total of five and a half air to air victories and two confirmed damaged enemy aircraft, 208 combat hours and 72 missions, Jack was relieved of combat duty and reassigned to the states as a flight instructor in P-38s and P-47 Thunderbolts at the replacement training unit at Santa Ana, California. Ilfrey returned to the E.T.O. in April of 1944, as the Operations Officer of the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, based out of King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire, England. This group was also equipped with P-38's. On 27 September he became the Squadron's Commander. Soon after his arrival he was back in action. On 24 May, during a mission to Berlin, he was credited with downing two Messerschmitt Me-109s, one of which had actually collided with Ilfrey's Lightning and had sheared off nearly four and a half to five feet of Ilfrey's right wing. The enemy pilot did not recover from the subsequent spin, but Ilfrey's skill kept him from joining in the fate of his foe. Jack managed to bring the P-38 back home only to discover many of his squadronmates had given up on him making it back. As D-Day approached, and Invasion stripes were added to their aircraft, the 79th Fighter Squadron readied itself for some intense action. Ilfrey flew three patrols over Normandy on 6 June (D-Day), as the largest invasion force to ever cross the English Channel fought below him on the beaches of Normandy. The Luftwaffe did not make an appearance in the skies over Normandy that day so the men of the 20th Fighter Group had the chance to watch the invasion unfold beneath them. On 12 June, after successfully dive bombing a railway bridge over the Loire River, near Angers, France, Jack was shot down while strafing a nearby train. He was over 200 miles behind the front lines, but with the help of the French civilians he managed to evade capture dressed as a French farmer Jacques Robert' and was back in England within six days. Despite the official doctrine which sent all pilots who evaded back to the United States he somehow managed to side-step the rules and continued flying in combat. In late July, the 20th Fighter Group converted to the P-51D Mustang and within months were involved in "Operation Frantic VI", a shuttle mission to Russia, Italy and back to England. It was around this time that Ilfrey was promoted to Major, however the celebration that followed said promotion led to his being busted back to 2nd. Lt. for multiple infractions. He remained in command of the squadron, however, and his claim to fame...or infamy... (as he was fond of saying) is he was the only 2nd. Lt. to ever lead a Combat Squadron during the war. He soon returned to the rank of Capt. however, as Gen. Ilfrey and his wingman squeezed into the cockpit of the P-51 (designed for only one person,) and flew a short trip to Brussels where they landed safely. On 9 December, 1944, after a total of 70 missions, 320 hours of combat flying and 2 enemy aircraft downed, Ilfrey was reassigned to the US, where he became a Troop Commander at McChord Air Force Base. He left the USAAF with the final rank of Major in December of 1945. In two tours of duty Ilfrey completed a total of 142 missions, flew 528 combat hours, downed an officially confirmed seven and a half enemy aircraft (all air victories), damaged two more and destroyed two enemy trains on the ground. In December, 1945 he left the service, purchased a Beechcraft Model 18 commercial light transport and became a pilot for a Dallas, Texas-based construction firm. From 1949 through 1951 Ilfrey also trained foreign pilots in Hondo, Texas but, as his eyesight began fading, he began to seek out work that would keep him closer to the ground. Ilfrey retired after 30 years as a bank officer at Alamo National Bank, in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to being the Historian, and a past President, of The 20th Fighter Group Association he was the Editor of the group's newsletter, Kings Cliffe Remembered, throughout it's entire run of over fifty issues. He was active in the 8th Air Force Historical Society, The 1st Fighter Group Association, The American Fighter Aces Association, The Commemorative Air Force and the P-38 National Association. On 6 October, 1998 he was inducted into the Commemorative Air Force's American Combat Airman Hall of Fame. He was also an invaluable resource to aviation enthusiasts, researchers, historians and model-builders alike and was widely known for his generosity to those interested in preserving aviation history. In 1946, he penned his acclaimed autobiography, Happy Jack's Go Buggy . The foreward to this book was written by none other than aviation legend Gen. Ilfrey resided in San Antonio, Texas during the final years of his life. He passed away on 15 October, 2004, at Nix Hospital, after several months of declining health. He was buried next to his parents in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, Houston, Texas on 19 October. He was, sadly, the last surviving ace of both the 79th Fighter Squadron and 20th Fighter Group. (Photograph courtesy of Jack Ilfrey) Capt. Ilfrey's Known Assigned Aircraft: P-38J #43-28431 (MC-O) "Happy Jack's Go Buggy " (Lost 12 June, 1944 - Ilfrey evaded) · P-51D # 44-13761 (MC-I) " Happy Jack's Go Buggy"


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