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The Pioneer Mustang Group’s Portland Sojourn
Col. Kenneth R. Martin was the first commanding officer of the 354th Fighter Group and led the unit through Stateside training and into combat in the European Theater of Operations. While escorting heavy bombers over enemy territory, he was downed over Germany on February 11, 1944 in a mid-air collision between his P-51 Mustang and a German Luftwaffe Me-410 Hornisse heavy fighter after encountering eight of the type and shooting down another Me-410. He survived the collision, became a Prisoner of War (POW) and was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for this combat action. Late in the war in Europe he and another officer escaped captivity; he was briefly reunited with his group at its first base in Germany. Col. Martin served in the postwar Air Force until he retired in 1950. (Courtesy US National Archives via Mr. Daniel Carrizales)

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