Lt Lawrence Dale Wood, original member of the 363rd Fighter Squadron
This information and some of these photos of Lt. Lawrence Dale Wood, were sent in by his nephew, James A. Wood. Some of James' comments on his Uncle Dale follow:
Lt Lawrence Dale Wood was born in Hoxie, KS, on August 27th, 1919, and he passed from this world on June 7th, 1951. Dale spent four years and nine months in the US Military. He spent the first two in the infantry and two years and nine months in the Air Corps. He rose from the rank of Lt to Captain and was a flight instructor his last 6 months. Dale was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters. Dale spoke with James' father many times about his experiences during WWII and with the 357th FG. He said that he flew with Chuck Yeager and James wrote to Chuck about Dale in 1998. General Yeager kindly replied and confirmed what Dale had told James' father. General Yeager said that "Woodie" had joined the 363rd Fighter Squadron at Tonopah, Nevada, in the Spring of 1943 and flew the P-39 aircraft. They went to England in November 1943 and flew P-51s against the Germans. General Yeager went on to say that of the 30 original 363rd FS pilots who went into combat, 21 of them were killed. James was not born until 1955, so never had the honor to meet his uncle. He only knows what his father has told him about his uncle. His father said that Dale was shot down twice, once landing via parachute in the English Channel, but that he did not know where he came down via parachute the second time. James' Dad said that the war had changed Dale as one might expect and that he did not like to speak of it very often. He also said that one of his father's favorite expressions was "Rougher than a cob" which you wil read about below. James is very proud of Dale and his service to our country. I have included some additional photos of Dale and his P-51 Cobber 1, 2 and 3. Thank you James for sharing your information about your uncle with us. We are proud to display it here to honor the memory and sacrifices for our country by Dale and all the men of the 357th FG, Yoxford Boys. Happy 4th of July 2005.
Dale seated in the jeep (right front seat) with knee up. This is in Russia during the Shuttle mission.
Dale in flight gear.
Dale receiving award.
Dale in the cockpit of his P-51B.
1st Lt Lawrence Wood. Bill Overstreet recalls that Wood liked to describe himself as "rough as a cob." He is more than likely the pilot of a P-51 named Cobber. There were at least 3 P-51s named Cobber in the 357th FG. Dale scored one air victory on 9 May 1945 and is known to have completed his tour and probably returned to the U.S. in August or September of 1945. In March of 1945, Wood was involved in an aircraft accident at Leiston in P-51, 43-6758, code letters B6-T. The aircraft is listed as being salvaged for battle damage the next day. There is no proof, but this aircraft was probably named Cobber. No known photos exist of this aircraft. (Merle Olmsted)
On 6 August 1944, Clobber II flown by Lawrence Wood on the Shuttle Mission to Russia. P-51B, 42-106783. This aircraft was bare metal with a Malcolm hood. It was lost on 15 Sept 44 with Louis Nowlin. It was B6-L on the Shuttle Mission. The Crewmembers in this photo are unidentified. (Merle Olmsted)
Very poor photo of Cobber III. Serial number unknown, code appears to have been either B-6T, P or F. Name above the exhaust stacks. (Merle Olmsted)
Photo of what is probably a crew chief shack for one of the Cobber P-51s. Crew members are unidentified. (Merle Olmsted)