July 3, 2013 - Along with an awesome collection of World War II aircraft, the Texas Flying Legends Museum will bring a number of WWII veterans to AirVenture in a C-53 transport. Here is the seventh in our series of profiles of those veterans, P-47 pilot Capt. Herb Stachler, U.S. Army Air Corps.
In 1941, Herb Stachler decided to enlist in the Army - well before the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial forces. Pearl Harbor froze all active duty military in place, so in 1942 Herb applied for pilot training. However, his height was just under the 5 feet 4 inches required to be accepted into the program. So when he took the physical, he stretched himself and stood as tall as he could - and passed.
Herb began training to fly the P-47 Thunderbolt and was assigned to the 366th Fighter Group. When Herb was assigned his own P-47, he decided to name it Lil' Herbie as a tribute to a little boy and his many adventures. He flew 102 combat missions and participated in every major campaign on the Western Front, including D-Day, the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944.