Fallen Dragon - First and Last - Hampton Boggs - Ace -The Burma Banshees
The first engagement by the 80th Fighter Group would be by Hampton Boggs and Walt Thompson on December 1, 1943. According to the Air War for Burma book, the Japanese were planning a major raid on Calcutta. Fifteen P-38’s of the 459th would be involved in intercepting this force and both Boggs and Thompson would score aerial victories on this day.
Hampton and my father Philip Adair both hailed from Oklahoma and were competitively friendly. Hampton would split off with Verl Luering and join the 459th Figther Squadron when it was formed. My father stayed with the 89th and though he longed to join the 459th, he always admired Hampton Boggs. He and dad would compare un-official counts periodically and my father would always proclaim that Hampton Boggs should have been recognized as a triple Ace.
Hampton Boggs would become an Ace by April 2, 1944 when he downed his 5th Japanese fighter during a raid led by Capt. Luehring and 14 P=38’s from the 459th Fighter Squadron, the Twin Dragons
Hampton Boggs would score his last aerial victory on February 11, 1944 as he downed a Tony, Japanese fighter in support of a raid on Rangoon.
It is a little known and interesting fact that Hampton Boggs would very quietly score the very first and the very last aerial victories for the Burma Banshees and did it as a 459th Fighter Squadron Pilot.
According to local newspapers, Hampton provide the following account of one of his engagements," There were 10 of us against 35 Zeros. I got three of them in the air and one on the ground, just as he was landing." He later recalled, " About half of them must have been returning from a mission. The first one blew up in front of me. I had closed in on him at about 100 yards. I saw the second one, I tackled him as he was about to hit the ground, but didn't see him crash. The others went down in flames."
Thirteen victory flags painted on the side of Melba Lou in this photo. Hampton Boggs would cycle back to the United States and later see service at Truax Field in Wisconsin. He would lose his life here in February in 1953 at the age of 31.
He and three other fighter pilots were forced to bail out of their Sabre Jets in a blinding snow storm as their jets ran out of fuel. Sadly his parachute would fail to open and his snow covered body was found by a farmer's wife on a Wisconsin Hillside.
Hampton Boggs, a true American hero,