Personal Stories
57th Fighter Group Squadron Insignias
(And How They Originated)

64th Fighter Squadron “Black Scorpions”

Anyway, the story of how we got the Black Scorpion insignia is an interesting one. The Group arrived in Palestine with 65th insignia (Fighting Cock) and the 66th Squadron insignia (Exterminator) established and approved by whatever Board or Committee the Air Corps had to authorize such considerations.

The 64th Squadron submitted one that portrayed a Knight in full armor, holding a jousting pole, and on a warhorse going full tilt. Get the picture. Anyway, this submission was denied approval and the 64th had no insignia when it arrived in the war zone.

Pudge Wheeler, who was the Squadron Commander, and Buck Bilby who was Operations Officer decided to do something about this matter. Both men had problems with black scorpions getting in their shoes when they set them under their cots. Several of our guys got stung by them also. We all learned quickly to tie our shoes to the ridgepole of our tents to keep the pesky critters out of our shoes.

In any case, these two great guys suggested that we adopt the black scorpion as our insignia. They were agile. They had a stinger that poured out venom and they could be deadly. The idea took hold and we adopted the Black Scorpion as our insignia. Of course, it was not authorized but we continued to make additions and it evolved into the insignia as you have seen it. We didn't add the pyramid until we got into Sicily and Buck Bilby, Hal Routh and I put the pyramid on to show where we had been. It was also a symbol of strength. So we now have a blue background of sky, a white cloud, a pyramid with a fire-breathing black scorpion poised to sting superimposed on it. Routh, who was the artist, decided to put the red border around it. That is how it came about.

Sometime in 1956, General Joe Cannon discovered that this insignia had never been authorized, let alone approved, and he took care of the necessary formality to make everything legal. That is the story. —Paul Carll 64th

65th Fighter Squadron “Fighting Cocks”

From “Stars and Stripes” Mediterranean Edition, Rome, January 30. 1945:

WITH THE 57TH FIGHTER GROUP – Uncle Bud II came home today, the gift of Hal P. Monahan Sr. of Lake Placid, NY, in memory of his son who was killed fighting with the “Fighting Cocks” In December 1943.

Like his predecessor Uncle Bud is cocky, ill-tempered, fighting son-of-a-gun of a rooster and that’s the way the boys like him.

When Col. Phil Cochran, former commander of the “Fighting Cock” Squadron asked Milt Caniff, creator of “Terry & The Pirates,” to design the original Uncle Bud, he said, “I don’t care what you come up with, Milt, just so long as he’s a fighting son of a gun.”

Caniff chose the rooster, and Uncle Bud the First came overseas with the squadron and followed it from the hectic days of the North African campaign until he was killed by a jeep last September. Lt. Col. Gilbert O. Wymond of Detroit, the squadron’s present commander, wrote to Caniff and asked him to assist in finding a replacement.

Caniff passed the plea along to the readers of his comic strip and from thousands of replies received, he chose that of Monahan Sr., who asked that he be allowed to sponsor the rooster in memory of his son.

Republic Aviation Corp., who’s P-47’s the “Fighting Cocks” fly in combat, obtained the rooster and at a midafternoon ceremony during the employees’ rest period, Monahan presented the bird to Captains Ray Donahue, Jr. of Pittsburgh, and James Eubanks of Bronte, Texas, two members of the squadron home on 30 day leave.

The fliers smuggled Uncle Bud II on board ship by hiding him under their coats. He shared their cabin and got his first taste of army chow- C rations and fruit, which the officers managed to scrounge.

Uncle Bud II has already proved himself a “Fighting Cock.” His first official act upon being uncrated was to rout a pet dog from the kitchen.

At the officers club, he was introduced to Uncle Bud I, formerly believed by members of the squadron to be the “meanest rooster alive”, mounted in a fighting pose in a glass cage. The new arrival immediately lashed out at the intruder with his long spurs and had to be pulled away from the glass.

Said one pilot, “He’s even meaner than Old Bud himself. He’ll do.”

66th Fighter Squadron “Exterminators”

The squadron insignia was designed by one of the enlisted men, Howard Galipeau. A talented aircraft mechanic as well as an artist of talent. It was originally designed as a fighting duck in Windsor Locks in 1942 because it was thought the 57th would be going to Alaska. When instead it was sent to Africa he altered the design, which still resembled a penguin or duck but very pugnacious. Early in the African campaign a U.S. reporter visited the 57th and interviewed the squadron and group personnel. The "Black Scorpions" were the 64th, the "Fighting Cocks" were the 65th but no name was assigned to the 66th so he called it squadron "X". So the X was added to the insignia. Due to the excellent damage to the German forces in the desert war the "X" was changed to "Exterminators" which stuck to the squadron until the group was declassified.

Howard Galipeau passed away June 14th, 1999.

Dave Hutton 66th