Personal Stories
Commanding Officers of the 57th FG:
Major General Arthur G. Salisbury

"We are all aware of the accomplishments of the 57th, Fighter Group, both collectively and individually. What makes many of these accomplishments more remarkable is that in many cases they were achieved under the most severe circumstances of comparative equipment inferiority in the early days, working under the broiling desert sun, the hot desert winds and the incessant blowing sand which permeated our food, our bunks, and even the engines of our beloved P-40s. We remember the rain and the heat and cold of Sicily and Italy and the arrival of those wonderful P-47 Jugs which not only increased the longivity of many pilots but proved to be the finest ground attack plane of the war.

The greatness of the 57th is directly attributable to the people in the group. The valorous young pilots who grew up so quickly, the great support staff an absolutely remarkable group, the backbone of the outfit, those great NCOs who taught us the ropes and put us on the right track, the cooks, the armorers, the clerks and all the others who realized the importance of their own particular job and made the 57th such a cohesive outfit. Also we owe a great debt of gratitude to a great bunch of RAF fighter pilots who took us under their wing and taught us the fundamentals, people such as Jackie Darwin, Fred Rosier, Billy Drake, Doug Loftus, Parsons, Duncan-Smith and many others.

We all remember the groups participation at the Battle of El Alamein, the trek across the desert past El Daba, Tobruk, Tripoli, and to Tunis, the operations out of that strange little fortress island of Malta which played such a decisive part in the war in the Mediterranean, the invasions of Sicily and Italy, the fall of Naples and Rome, the great era of operating out of Corsica and the success of Operation Strangle. But perhaps one of the greatest contributions of the 57th, was their part in the development of tactics and techniques in the employment of Air Power, not only in attaining and maintaining air superiority but in isolating the battlefield and deterring supplies and reinforcements in reaching the enemy forces and in providing direct support and assistance to the ground forces.

These tactics and techniques developed in the desert and in Sicily and Italy were to prove to be the basis for supporting the allied armies across France, the Benelux countries and Germany. We should be thankful for the vision of such people as Generals Spaatz, Brereton, Cannon, Weyland, Quesada, and such supporters of Air Power as British Army CinC Sir Harold Alexander, and RAF luminaries as Air Chief Marshall, Sir Arthur Tedder, and Air Marshalls A. Coningham, Broadhurst, Pike, Atcherley, and many others.

Once again, the country owes you of the 57th, a great debt and I salute you."

--Arthur G. Salisbury
Maj. Gen. USAF (Ret.)

MAJOR GENERAL ARTHUR G. SALISBURY was in the initial staffing of the 57th, became Squadron 65 C.O. on June 28, 1942, flew off the aircraft carrier, across Africa on the supply route and into combat supporting the British 8th Army commanded by General Montgomery. He succeeded Col. Mears as Group C.O. on December 23, 1942 and led the Group through the end of the African Campaign in April of 1943, through the capture of Pantelleria, the capture of Sicily, the invasion of Italy, through the early phases of Operation Strangle and until reassigned to higher responsibilities in England on April 23, 1944. Shot down twice by ground fire, each time he returned to continue to lead the Group.

Howard and Marion Long, with Art Salisbury, 65 Sqd CO, then later Group CO. Photo courtesy Marion Long.