McGuire, Thomas “Tommy” Buchanan “Pudgy V”, born 01-08-1920 at Ridgewood, New Jersey, the son of Thomas and Polly McGuire. Following his parents’ divorce when he was a small boy, McGuire moved to Sebring, FLorida with his mother. Raised in central Florida, McGuire graduated from Sebring High School and enrolled at Georgia Tech in 1938. He married Always interested in aviation, McGuire left school after his junior year in 1941 and enlisted in the US Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet. Ordered to Corsicana, TX, he began flight school later that year. Completing training at Randolph Field, TX, McGuire received his wings and was promoted to lieutenant in February 1942, here with flyer ace Richard “Dick” Bong
. As US involvement in World War II had recently begun, McGuire was dispatched to Alaska where he flew the notorious P-39 Airacobra. McGuire soon grew bored and began requesting transfers to more active fronts where he could see combat. In late 1942, his request was granted and he was ordered to Harding Field, LA. While there, he, in December 1942, married Marilynn Elaine “Pudgy” Giesler Beatty, who died 19-11-1998, age 74, in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas and was buried at, City Cemetery San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. A special project of Lieutenant General George Kenney, the 475th was intended to an elite group comprised exclusively of squadrons equipped with the P-38. Initially based at Port Moresby, New Guinea, McGuire, who relentlessly studied his aircraft, was made the assistant engineering officer for the 431st. On 18-08-1943, McGuire flew his first combat mission with the unit. Flying top cover for bombers en route to strike Wewak, New Guinea, McGuire and his squadron encountered several Japanese fighters near the target area. Engaging, McGuire officially shot down two Ki-43 Oscars and a Ki-61 Tony.Over the next five months, McGuire endured a long drought, but was given command of the 431st in May 1944. Based at Hollandia, New Guinea, McGuire returned to the score sheet on May 16, when he downed an Oscar near Noemfoer. He continued to increase his total through the year, was promoted to major in May and spent much of the summer working with noted aviator Charles “Slim” Lindbergh he died age 72, on 26-08-1974. The famous flyer arrived at the 475th in June 1944, as a civilian contractor to assess and recommend improvements in the P-38. Flying several unauthorized missions as McGuire’s wingman, Lindbergh bunked with him at Biak. On 07-01-1945, McGuire departed base with three other P-38s to conduct a low-level fighter sweep over Negros Island.
Death and burial ground of McGuire, Thomas Buchanan “Pudgy V”.
Flying with two 160-gallon drop tanks, the P-38s of McGuire’s flight encountered a lone Oscar flown by veteran instructor pilot Warrant Officer Akira Sugimoto. Ordering his flight to keep their drop tanks as they would be needed to complete the sweep, McGuire moved to engage. Sugimoto attacked two of the American flight before finding himself behind McGuire and his wingman. Turning hard to draw Sugimoto onto his tail and off his wingman, McGuire’s P-38 stalled at an altitude of 300 ft. as he executed the manoeuvre. Snap-rolling into an inverted position, his P-38 pitched down and slammed into the ground. McGuire was killed instantly at impact. Many pilots felt that McGuire’s order to keep their drop tanks, which was against standard operating orders, contributed to the stall and his subsequent death. McGuire, age 24, is buried on Arlington National Cemetery, Section 11. His close neighbours in Section 11 are the Lieutenant General, Commanding General, Normandy, Henry Aurand,
Air Force Brigadier General, Chief of Staff Second Air Force, Nathan Forrest III, General Lieutenant, Commander of the 10th Mountain Division, Georg Hays, Lieutenant Colonel and Fighter ace, “The Boise Bee”, Duane Beeson, the Flyer Ace, Marine Corps Brigade General, Carlson’s Raiders, “Gung Ho”, Evans Carlson and General, Vogues Forests, 36th Infantry Division , he arrested Reichsmarshal Herman Goering, John Dahlquist.