Adams County

Lt. Col. David L. Lewis

 

 

Fighter-Bomber Group Commander Is –
Lt. Col. David Lewis
With Ninth Air Force In Germany

A special news release to the Free Press, received Wednesday morning, from the Public Relations office of the Ninth Air Force in Germany, is an interesting review of some of the combat work done in the air war against Germany by a Corning boy, Lt. Col. David L. Lewis.

Lewis is a veteran in flying and had done a lot of flying before the war. He is now commanding officer of the 474th Fighter-Bomber Group of the Ninth Air Force. The new release received by the Free Pres reads as follows: --

“Lieutenant Colonel David L. Lewis of Corning, Iowa, commanding officer of the Ninth Air Force’s 474th Fighter-Bomber Group, led the final American combat mission of the war against the Luftwaffe on the eve of V-E Day.

Led Squadron

At 1950 hours the squadron of eight _-38 Lightnings led by Lewis was flying defensive front-line patrol near Coburg, Germany. A Feissler-Storch, one of the Luftwaffe’s small training planes, was suddenly spotted at a low altitude, flying toward the west. Col. Lewis circled and dived as the Nazi pilot tried to escape. After a cross-country chase of about thirty miles the Colonel finally forced the plane to land by firing one short burst in front of it. The pilot and his single passenger attended to hid in the nearby woods as Lewis circled the area.

About fifteen minutes later a jeep drove up and two G. I.’s flushed out and captured the Nazis. At the same time the squadron sighted a twin-engined Heinkel transport also going west. Col. Lewis ordered his pilots to close in on the aircraft and a short burst was fired across the bow of the enemy plane as a warning. Promptly the Heinkel peeled off and crash-landed in a nearby field. Ten Germans scrambled out of the smashed plane waving white handkerchiefs. The eight Lightnings patrolled overhead, four serving as top cover while the Colonel and his flight kept guard over the Nazis. Soon an American Army vehicle drove up to the crashed plane and the ten Jerries were captured as Col. Lewis led his squadron back to home base.

Air Defense Commander

Lewis has served in Puerto Rico, Panama, North Africa, Corsica, France, Belgium and Germany. He was Air Defense Commander of Casablanca and served with the 12th Air Force for 21 months before joining the Ninth Air Force in 1944. He received his pilot’s wings in June, 1938 and has been in the E. T. O. since January, 1943.

A senior pilot with more than 2100 hours of flying time, Col. Lewis was appointed commanding officer of the 474th Group in April of 1045. His decorations include the American and European Theater Ribbons with six campaign participation stars as well as the Air Medal.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, June 28, 1945, Page 1