Lt. Col. Robert J. Goebel
Robert J. Goebel, the youngest of seven children, was born in Racine, Wisconsin in 1923. He entered the service as an Aviation Cadet at age 19 in 1942 and began his military career at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center. After completing pre-flight training, he was sent to the Primary Flight School at Corsicana, TX and began his flying career in the Fairchild PT-19. Basic flying and trainign followed at Majors Field, Greenville, TX, with the BT-13 and Advanced was completed at Moore Field, McAllen, TX in the AT-6.
After graduating in May 1943, his first assignment was to Panama where he flew the P-39s and P-40s in defense of the Panama Canal. He returned to the ZI (Zone of the Interior) in December of 1943 and was immediately shipped out to North Africa. After docking at Oran, Algeria, he was moved to Telergma where he was checked out in the Spitfire in preparation for joining the 31st FG, one of two American Spitfire groups operating in the Mediterranean area. However, when he finally joined the group at Castel Volturno, Italy on April 1, 1944, it was in the process of re-equipping with the Mustang, moving to the Foggia side of Italy and changing from close support of the front lines to Heavy Bomber escort as part of the 15th Air Force.
He flew a total of 61 long range missions from San Severo, Italy with the 31st Fighter Group in support of the bomber offensive of Southern Europe, including a shuttle run to Russia and 16 trips to the Ploesti oil fields. In the course of his combat tour, he destroyed 11 enemy fighters in the air. Although he lead his squadron into combat seven times and led the entire group of 48 aircraft twice, he was still only 21 years old when he completed his tour and returned to the United States. His decorations include the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with 17 oak leaf clusters, and the Presidential Unit Citation with one oak leaf cluster.
He left the Service in 1946 to attend the University of Wisconsin and earned a BS degree in Physics in 1948. After serving in the Wisconsin Air Natioanl Guard as Commander of the 126th Figther Squadron for two years, he returned to active duty in the spring of 1950. After various assignments in Atomic Energy and Space Programs, he retired from the Air Force in 1966.
He and June, his wife of 56 years, have nine children and 27 grand children and live in Torrence, CA. Bob has recently published his wartime memoirs in a book entitled Mustang Ace.
Decorations: Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross w/ 1 cluster, Air Medal w/ 17 clusters.
The following is a summary of Col. Goebel's victories:
|05-29-44||Wiener Newstadt, Aus.: Me109|
|06-23-44||Ploesti: bomber escort- Me109|
|06-27-44||Budapest: bomber escort- Me110|
|07-02-44||Budapest: bomber escort- Me109-probable. Goebel scored hits that sent coolant streaming from the 109. Goebel neglected to burn enough fuel out of the fuselage tank before fighting and found himself out of control twice while trying high G turns and pull-outs to lose the Me109. Lesson learned.|
|07-03-44||Bucharest, Rumania: bomber escort- lone Me109 attacked from behind, never saw Goebel. Goebel became ace.|
|07-20-44||Friedrichshafen, Ger.: Me109|
|08-03-44||Friedrichshafen, Ger.: Me109 on return trip|
|08-18-44||Ploesti: fighter sweep (3) Me109s. Long flight alone on the way home with very little fuel onboard. Goebel was seperated from group at the first enemy contact.|
|08-22-44||Blechhammer, Ger.: Me109. Goebel fought off attack of (2) FW190s who chased him on the deck for a while before breaking off.|
|08-28-44||Vienna, Aus.: Me109|
|09- 44||Left San Severo to the US for a prolonged leave|
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