The following is from the AFHRA. If anyone would like me to search for a relatives name just shout out. Presented here is the history of the first fifteen months of the 344th Fighter Squadron. Our squadron is unique in the fact that it was activated overseas during the heat of battle, so to speak. We were born of six different squadrons, all stationed in Alaska and the Aleutians. With a composite group to work with, naturally the squadron was slow in cutting its fighting teeth. The youngest of the four squadrons in the 343rd Fighter Group, we were at first used for rear area defense. For instance when the 11th Fighter Squadron was at Umnak and the 18th and 54th Fighter Squadrons were at Adak, we were back at Cold Bay. When the 11th moved up to Adak, and the 18th and 54th pioneered Amchitka, we took over at Umnak. However, we are now one of the squadrons providing defense for the western most bases on the Aleutian Chain, During recent scrambles the elapsed time between the sound of the alert siren and the aircraft becoming airborne, has been cut so low as to arouse comment from the Controllers in this area. It is our firm belief that if the testing time comes, we will hold our own with any other squadron in the Group in this respect. We do have our problems, however. The inactivity in this theater, the constantly changing rotation policy and the supply situation are factors adversely affecting morale. The improvements we are making in our area, and general progress in the squadron as a whole should help offset this. Chapter 1 The Beginning In the fall of 1942, a little more than four months after the Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor and the accompanying occupation of the Western Aleutian Islands of Atty, Agattu and Kiska, our side was facing a sort of island-hopping campaign designed to bring the enemy within KO range. Adak, our most advanced base at that time was still "rough" -- mud, tents Vienna Sausage and Spam. The 54th with it's 38's was at Adak, the 11th was at Umnak and the 18th at Cold Bay, The bombers and fighters from Adak were pecking away at Kiska, but the distance from Adak to Kiska (233miles) was just a little too much for effective attrition, and our strategists decided to move closer to the Japs to hit the enemy harder and more often, The plans called for the 54th and its Lightnings and the 18th with its 40's, to move to Amchitka, with the 11th taking over at Adak. But in order to provide air defense for bases to the rear, another fighter squadron was needed, and that's where the 344th was born. When the decision was made to form a new fighter squadron, the word went around to the squadrons stationed in Alaska and each of the outfits ( the 11th, 18th, 42th, 54th , 56th and the 57th) made contributions. The 42nd, 56th, and 57th, incidentally, with P-39's and P-40's didn't stay around long. They were up here for a few months got in a few swipes at the Nips, and then went home. With this composite aggregation, the 344th got under way. Some of the men were zanies and goldbricks which had been dumped by the other outfits upon the shoulders of the new outfit. Many, however were the best on the Chain and could hold their own in any outfit. These came because they felt that a new organization held better possibilities than where they were. At any rate these were the officers and men who were to build up the steam to start the 344th rolling. The Commanding Officer was Capt. Elmer E. Booth, a little guy with the build of a high-school halfback, and a crack flyer. With him in the orderly room were Lt. James A. Callan as Adjutant; S/Sgt. Clair M. Lamb, acting First Sergeant; Sgt. Francis O. Meyer, chief clerk; Cpl. Morris Shapito, clerk; Sgt. Adams, Personnel NCO; and Cpl. Erath, personnel clerk. On December 7th, 1942, Capt. Perryman, a recent addition, took over the duties of Adjutant.