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Among the NHA's photograph collections are images donated by Robert L. Young, Nantucketer and former member of the 356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, also called the Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group.
It includes portraits of members; distinguished visitors, including General Patton and General Eisenhower; honor ceremonies; the "500th Kill Party" in Rennes, France; and a Young family reunion at 12 India Street, Nantucket.
After being inducted April 17, 1942, and trained as a pilot, Robert L. Young was assigned to the 354th Fighter Group, 356th Squadron, a unit of the 9th Army Air Force. The men in the 9th were on loan to the 8th Air Force for bomber escort duty until the D-Day invasion. After D-Day the 354th F.G. reverted to its primary function as Tactical Air Force supporting Patton's troops on the ground, destroying enemy ground facilities. The 356th Fighter Squadron was part of the 354th Fighter Group ("Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group") of the Ninth (9th) Air Force. There were 3 squadrons that made up the Group, the 356th Fighter Squadron, the 355th Fighter Squadron, and the 353rd Fighter Squadron (the highest scoring fighter unit in the entire war).
Young acquired the nickname "Pop" during flight training due to the age difference between himself and rest of the enlistees, who were 18 to 21 years old, and the fact that he was balding. Student pilots used to rub his head for "luck" before going flying. Young flew 86 combat missions and was credited with three air victories, plus numerous fighter sweeps against ground installations. He was "mustered out to civilian life" January 6, 1946.
The NHA Research Library also has a collection of correspondence; military records; medals, ribbons, and pins (which have removed to the curatorial collection); currency; and other documents.
More information about these images would be welcome. Please email us with comments.
Links to more information about the 356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group: