|Title:||M.H. Mitchell, Inc. 47th Fighter Squadron collection|
|Quantity:||4.4 Linear feet (2 document boxes, 2 flat boxes, 1 oversized box)|
The 47th Fighter Squadron became active on December 1st, 1940 and was designated the 47th Pursuit Squadron, one of three squadrons assigned to the 15th Pursuit Group on Wheeler Field in Hawaii. The 15th Fight Group was in turn part of the 20th Air Force based on Iwo Jima. They were the only single engine fighter group flying VLR (Very Long Range) missions off Iwo Jima, and escorted B-29s to Japan.
The 47th Pursuit Squadron participated in numerous campaigns from 1940 to 1945, flying aircraft that included P-10, P-26, P-36, P-47, and P-51's. The squadron was credited with shooting down eight Japanese aircraft on 7 December 1941, before being inactivated on 15 October 1946.
The 47th was re-designated the 47th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron in 1952 and was activated at Niagara Falls Municipal Airport, New York. Many changes, moves, and reactivations have occured in the ensuing decades.
Collection consists of photographs, writings and printed materials documenting the activities of the 47th Fighter Squadron during the war, as well as its reunion activites and several artifacts from Iwo Jima.
The collection has been roughly arranged into 3 series: Series 1. World War II materials, Series 2. Veteran and Reunion materials, and Series 3. Iwo Jima Artifacts.
Series 1. World War II materials includes photographs, mission reports, and writings produced during World War II. Original photographs are somewhat unarranged within the folder but are especially rich in content and show pilots in large and small groups engaged in a variety of activities at camp during the war, images of Mt. Fujiyama, and later as old men. They range from 1941-2000; are in black and white as well as color; offer a range of print sizes; approximatly half are identified. While the copies of photographs are somewhat redundant they also seem to offer additional images of pilots and soldiers at work and in leisure at camp. Mission reports are from 1945 and range from the 47th Squadron to the Air Force; previously confidential government documents they are now open for public view. Lastly the writings consist of a diary by Henry C. Ryiker written during his eight months in Iwo Jima from 1945, and a set of several dozen humorous songs and poems by Henry G. "Sandy" Sanders.
Series 2. Veterans and Reunion materials focuses on histories of the 47th and documentation of its reunion activities, as well as some related printed matter. "Histories" are histories for the 47th Fighter Squadron segmented by year and possibly campaign, whereas printed materials are mainly issues of newsletters, magazines, and a few articles. Reunion materials consist mainly of member rosters and the correspondence of Henry G. "Sandy" Sanders who organized many of the 47th Squadron reunions in the 1970s and 1980s.
Series 3. Iwo Jima consists of two boxes. Both contain objects and items owned and used by Japanese soldiers and found by American soldiers. These items were likely discovered on fallen Japanese, as several pieces are precious, notably the senninbari, which was normally worn around the waist. Almost all of these items have Japanese characters written on them, and, while some are translated, more work could be done and further information discovered.
M.H. Mitchell, Inc. 47th Fighter Squadron collection, MS 3399. Hargrett Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, University of Georgia Libraries.