Welcome to the Unofficial page of
The "Checkertail Clan"
This page is dedicated to the memory of
Clyde A. Sutton
July 28, 1918 - January 11, 1999
The "Checkertail Clan" got its name from "Axis Sally" which was the Axis Powers' version of Tokyo Rose. It seems that on one mission, while in North Africa, the 325th FG shot down 20 Nazi planes earning the group their first Distinguished Unit Citation. That night, Axis Sally described the group as the "Checkertail Butchers". She went on to say "We will remember you boys in that old Checkertail Clan." The name stuck.
During its World War II operations, the 325th FG flew three (3) main types of aircraft. They were the P-40 Warhawk, the P-47 Thunderbolt and the P-51 Mustang.
They began combat operations, arriving in North Africa on January 19, 1943, with the P-40F. While employing the P-40 Warhawk, the 325th FG completed 128 missions, 3,990 sorties for a total of 10,121.45 combat hours. There were 135 combat victories (96 Bf-109's, 26 Macchi-202's, 7 ME-323's, 3 Ju-52's and 3 Fiesler Fi-156's) compared to 35 losses. A total of 328,820 Lbs of bombs were dropped. During this time frame, the 325th FG produced 4 aces (5 kills), 4 with 4 kills and 12 with 3 kills.
Battles and Campaigns include Tunisia, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, and Southern France.
Sharon Stephano is looking for any and all information on her father Robert Rausch who was a P-51 pilot with the 325th FG and shot down in 1944. If you have any information or know where this information may be obtained, please contact Sharon Stephano at firstname.lastname@example.org or her son at email@example.com
The USO Show
On August 10, 1943, using the group's B-25 "Passion Flower 2nd", Lt Col Bob Baseler picked up Bob Hope and the USO troupe for a show at the group's base. The troupe included Frances Langford, Jack Pepper, Hildegard and Tony Romano. At the show, Miss Langford presented several Purple Hearts including one to Capt. Walter B. Walker who had gotten wounded in the backside. Needless to say, this fact drew a roaring laugh from the crowd.
Their stay was to be roughly a half a day but when Miss Langford found out that Capt John Watkins had built a hot water shower, she refused to leave until she got to take advantage of it. While she enjoyed the use of the shower, Lt Col Baseler took Bob Hope for a ride in the B-25 and arranged for some of the group's P-40's to "bounce" the B-25 in a mock attack. Bob Hope and his troupe ended up spending the entire day with the group making them late for their next show. A good time was had by all.
Bob Hope USO Show August 10, 1943
Left to Right - ?, Lt Col Baseler, Tony Romano, Francis Langford, Bob Hope, Jack Pepper
1st Anniversary of operations overseas
Group Commander Lt. Col. Robert L. Baseler is speaking.
Pilot in full gear - Capt Robert M. Barkey, 319th FS (Back of photo shows name as Barslie)
This is Lt. Col. Robert Baseler's aircraft
and the first of a series of aircraft to carry that name.
Much of the information provided here was obtained from the book
"CHECKERTAILS: The 325th Fighter Group in World War II" by Ernest R. McDowell.
If you have information on the 325th Fighter Group or know of someone who was with the 325th FG, please contact me at the e-mail address below or leave a message in my guest book on the 355th TFW Home page.