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ISSUE 40 - November 2008
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Born in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 30, 1917 and raised in Wilson, Wisconsin, Ken Dahlberg joined the Army in 1940 after a brief stint with the hotel business. Starting out as infantry, Dahlberg saw two openings for the Air Corps posted on a bulletin board. He was one of hundreds of applicants, but still took the test and was one of two people selected for pilot training.

Following his pilot training, Ken was assigned as an instructor at Luke Field in Yuma, Arizona where he was stationed with Barry Goldwater (later to become a US senator). During this assignment Ken trained pilots in the P-40 Warhawk, including many of the Aerial Volunteer Group's "Flying Tigers."

In May, 1944, Dahlberg was deployed to England where he joined 354th Fighter Group in the 353rd Fighter Squadron. His first mission was on D-Day, June 6, 1944. On D-Day +10, he landed the first P-51 on French soil on the first airstrip in France other than the beachhead itself.

His first credited kill was during his fourth mission where he had an encounter with an Me 109 over Chartres, France. On August 16, 1944, Ken along with seven other Mustangs tangled with some 80 enemy aircraft near Dreaux, France. Ken had shot down four Me 109s and was lined up on that magic number five when 20mm cannon shells started impacting his aircraft. He abruptly banked into a cloud and bailed out. He landed in an estate near the Rombulait Forest. The estate was complete with a chateau and a beautiful young lady that helped make a daring bicycle ride through enemy forces to rejoin his squadron.

On September 12, Dahlberg shot down four more German fighters when 10 P-51s engaged 40 or so FW 190s. 16 FW 190s were lost, but only two P-51s did not make it home.

In the later portion of 1944, Dahlberg's squadron transitioned to the P-47 Thunderbolt which slowed down the scoring for many of thee pilots, but that was not the case for Ken Dahlberg. He shot down two enemy aircraft on December 1st and then scored his last victories of the war on December 19, 1944 for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Capt. Dahlberg led eight P-47s in an attack on 90 enemy fighters and personally shot down four of the aircraft.

Ken was shot down for a second timee the day after Christmas during the Battle of the Bulge. His P-47 was hit by ground fire during an attack mission. He was too low to bail out and still had bombs on board so he could not ditch the aircraft. He executed a banking maneuver to "throw" his bombs off and bellied in three miles behind enemy lines. A US tank commander saw his crash and crossed the three miles of territory to rescue Ken who demanded to see proof of the tank commander's citizenship.

On February 14, 1945, Ken was shot down for the third and last time. His squadron was returning from a dive-bombing mission when his plane was hit by an 88mm artillery shell at 10,000 feet. Dahlberg remembers being hit, but lost consciousness soon after. His Thunderbolt plummeted to the ground in pieces and he fell to within 500 feet above the ground before he was able to pull the ripcord. His parachute opened just before he hit the earth and he ended up in Stalag Luft 7 where he remained until the end of the war.

After the war, Ken Dahlberg settled back in Minnesota where he founded Dahlberg, Inc., a leading manufacturer of hearing aids and other electronic devices.

The Gathering of Mustangs & Legends Commemorative DVD will officially release on November 28 and is now available to order!

The Mustangs. The Legends. The History. Preview the Gathering of Mustangs & Legends DVD, which will feature over 60 minutes of footage from the historic four-day air show held in Columbus, Ohio, September 27-30, 2007. Legend and pilot interviews, aerial footage, heritage flights and behind-the-scenes footage are just a few examples of the exciting and historic footage captured in high definition for all to enjoy!

Click on the image below to visit the GML website, watch the DVD preview and order your copy. Makes a great Holiday gift too!

Story Credits: The Gathering of Mustangs and Legends Web Site
Buy GML merchandise at

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