• Known as the ?Aztec Eagles,? El Escuadr?n 201 was part of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force and was composed of more than 300 volunteers. Thirty were experienced pilots, the rest were ground crewmen. Their formation was prompted by the German submarine attack against Mexican oil tankers which had been transporting oil the U.S. These attacks prompted Mexican President Manuel Avila Camacho to declare war on the Axis powers.

    The Aztec Eagles were attached to the U.S. Army Air Forces 5th Air Force's 58th Fighter Group during the liberation of the main Philippine island of Luzon in the summer of 1945. The pilots flew P-47D "Thunderbolt" single-seat fighter aircraft carrying out tactical air support missions.

    "We flew close air support missions for American and Filipino infantry troops on the ground, and had to hit where we saw a smoke bomb go off," Garduno said. "Otherwise, we could have hit friendly troops, because the difference in distance was about 300 yards between the enemy and the friendly troops.

    "We were 31 pilots (who) went to war," said Garduno, who flew 26 combat missions and served more than 37 years in the Mexican air force. "Originally, we were 38 pilots, but two were killed in training and the others were eliminated from training. All the time we were in the war, we never got a replacement pilot. It took a long time for training, and by the time they were going to be shipped out it was too late."

    The squadron left Mexico for the United States on July 24, 1944, arrived at Laredo, Texas, on July 25, and moved on to Randolph Field in San Antonio, where they received medical examinations and weapons and flight proficiency tests. They received five months of training at Majors Field in Greenville, Texas; Pocatello (Idaho) Army Air Base; Foster Field in Victoria, Texas; and Randolph. The pilots received extensive training in armament, communications or engineering as well as combat tactics, formation flying and gunnery.

    This marked the first time Mexican troops were trained for overseas combat. The "Aztec Eagles" flew 59 combat missions, totaling more than 1,290 hours of flight time. They participated in the Allied effort to bomb Luzon and Formosa (now Taiwan) to push the Japanese out of those islands.

    There is a darker side to this story, but that's for a political forum !!
    201st Fighter Squadron Of The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force Which Was Attached To The Fifth Air Force During World War II At Clark Field In The Philippines

    Regards Duggy.

  • These guys were badly treated by American personel.
    It was racist charged garbage. About 8 years ago I was in Mexico Df and saw one of these aircraft that was displayed in a park. These guys flew combat operations against the Japanese and received nothing in the way of a thank you?".

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