My name is Lt Col. Keir Knapp. I am the Director of Operations (DO) for the 172nd Fighter Squadron flying A-10 Warthogs in Battle Creek Michigan. We are the modern day descendants from the 361st Fighter Group and the 375th Fighter Squadron. Our official squadron patch is still Donald Duck holding the lightning bolt and pistol. My understanding is that the 361st or the 375th returned to the States after the war, and were assigned to Selfridge Airbase in Michigan. Eventually the 375th became the 172nd and moved to Battle Creek Michigan under the flag of the 110 Fighter Wing.
The 172nd has had quite a history in the last few years. We have flown combat missions over Bosnia, Kosovo, and most recently in the thick of things in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In fact during OIF, we had a similiar experience to the 361st's forward deployment into France. About one week into the war, a small part of our squadron forward deployed into Iraq and flew our A-10s from an abandoned Iraqi airfield called Tallil. Attached are some photos of our duck patch, the duck patch on our Ops building in Iraq, and the squadron photo in Iraq.
I am interested in corresponding with any members of the 361st or the 375th. I'd love to hear some of the stories and swap "tall tales". We have quite a history that grew a lot longer after I recently read "Little Friends". What a great tribute! We have a great "historical showcase" in the squadron that includes many wonderful artifacts. We would be honored to add some original memorabilia from those fighter pilots who "wrote the book" on air to ground combat.Though separated by nearly 60 years, our experiences in the cauldron of a fighter squadron at war are one and the same.