Mahurin, Walker Melville “Bud”, born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, joined the U.S. Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet on 29-09-1941 after several years as an engineering student at Purdue University. Graduating from pilot training on 29-04-1942, he was assigned to the 63rd Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group and deployed to England with them in January 1943. Based at Halesworth, England, then Captain Mahurin became a flight leader in the 63rd Fighter Squadron and began flying missions in May. On 17-08-1943, he scored his first aerial victories by shooting down a pair of German Focke-Wulf Fw 190s while escorting B-17 bombers as part of the Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission. One of these fighters was flown by Major, Wilhelm “Wutz” Galland
Gruppenkommandeur of II/Jagdgeschwader 26, and an ace with some 55 claims to his credit. Wilhelm was a brother of the famous General der Flieger, Adolf Galland. He became an ace on October 4 after shooting down three Messerschmitt Bf110s. On November 26, Mahurin shot down three more Bf-110s to become the first American pilot in the European Theater of Operations to score 10 aerial victories. His primary aircraft, P-47D-5-RE 42-8487, bore the squadron codes UN:M and was nicknamed The Spirit of Atlantic City,N.J. Mahurin was promoted to major on 21-03-1944, and on March 27, his P-47 was heavily damaged by a German Dornier Do-217 bomber he helped shoot down, forcing him to bail out. He was picked up by French Resistance forces. On the night of 3–4 May 1944, an RAF Westland Lysander attempted to retrieve Mahurin from France and fly him back to Britain. Before he could be picked up, the aircraft was shot down, and its pilot killed. The event was watched by Mahurin. The next attempt, again by a Lysander, on the night of 6–7 May 1944, was successful. Because of his knowledge of the French Resistance, he was grounded and sent home. In October, he again shipped overseas as commander of the 3rd Fighter Squadron, under command of Squadron leader Harvey Nelson Sweetman, the combat element of the composite 3rd Air Commando Group in the Philippines. Harvey Sweetman survived the war and died in 15-01-2015 at the age of 93, in Auckland..
On the picture ace Major, Walter Beckham, 353rd FG (right), in front of a P-47 Thunderbolt. Walter C. Beckham was born on 12-5-, 1916, in Paxton, Florida. He became a United States Army Air Corps cadet in early 1941, commissioned a Second Lieutenant in December, and then assigned to the Canal Zone and Ecuador. With the rank of Captain, he joined the 353rd Fighter Group, flying P-47s. They moved out to Goxhill, England in mid-1943. While based at Mangaldan, Luzon, in January 1945 Mahurin was credited with destroying a Japanese bomber. Mahurin was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 28-05-1945, and became commander of the 3rd Air Commando Group in September 1945. At the start of the Korean War in 1950, Mahurin was serving in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. In July 1951 he became commander of the 1st Fighter Group, training in the North American F-86 Sabre. In December he began a 90-day tour of temporary duty with the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, serving as special assistant to the wing commander, Fighter Ace with 61st Fighter Squadron, Colonel, Francis C. Gabreski
. Mahurin transferred to the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing on 18-03-1952, to command its 4th Fighter-Interceptor Group. On 13-05-1952, while strafing ground targets, his F-86 was shot down by North Korean ground fire; after crash-landing, breaking his arm, he was captured by enemy forces. Mahurin spent 16 months in a North Korean prisoner of war (POW) camp. He endured torture that included intense questioning, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, threats of execution, and brainwashing. While being questioned about claims of the United States’ use of biological warfare, he admitted to dropping canisters of insects over North Korea. He was released in September 1953 and retracted his confession. His experience in brainwashing techniques provided the U.S. with invaluable material to develop survival training courses. Nevertheless, he and other returning POWs were condemned by Senator Richard Brevard Russell, Jr and others because of their confessions. Russell died age 73, on 21-01-1971 in Washington D.C. Mahurin was subsequently promoted to full colonel. In 1956, Mahurin resigned from the U.S. Air Force to accept a senior position in the aviation industry. Living in Newport Beach, Orange County, California,
Death and burial ground of Mahurin, Walker Melville “Bud”.
Bud Mahurin died of “complications of stroke” at his home in Newport Beach, California, on 11-05-2010, age 91, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Section 60. He married twice. His first marriage, to Patricia (born Sweet), ended in divorce. He was survived by his second wife, Joan (born Gill), and two sons and a daughter from his first marriage.