79th Fighter Group

85th Fighter Squadron

85th Fighter Squadron

 

 

            The 85th Squadron insignia, the Flying Skull, was designed by Corporal Joseph Pumphrey in July 1942.  The insignia, with its white death’s head and yellow wings in a field of blue, is symbolic of winged death and destruction to be inflicted on all enemies of the Unites States.

            When the design was first submitted to Washington for approval, squeamish War Department officials rejected it as “too gruesome.”  They were quickly convinced by Major Schoellkopf, the squadron commander, that his pilots were preparing to fight a war that was little less gruesome itself, and the insignia was officially approved.

From The 79th Fighter Group over Tunisia, Sicily and Italy in World War II by Don Woerpel.

Colorized by R.H. Foss – Pull the arrow back and forth to see his amazing transformation.

Colorized by R.H. Foss – Pull the arrow back and forth to see his amazing transformation.

Commanding Officers

Name and Rank

Date

Captain J. L. Cole 9 May 1942
Major Jacob F. Schoellkopf July 1942
Major Frank B. Wagner 23 September 1943
Lt. Col. John F. Martin 24 December 1943
Major Carl Stewart April 1944
Major Eugene L. Kleiderer, Jr. 21 July 1944
Major Earl P. Maxwell 16 October 1944
Lt. Col. Roger B. Files February 1945
Captain Edwin J. Payne Unknown

*Information from The Falcon and The 79th Fighter Group over Tunisia, Sicily and Italy in World War II

Photo Gallery