Captain Ray Wetmore flew a Mustang nicknamed Daddy's Girl with
the 370th Fighter Squadron of the 359th Fighter Group, based at
East Wretham, Norfolk. With 21.25 victories, 16 of them in
Mustangs, he was the top scorer of the 359th. Lt. Wetmore scored on May
29, 1944, downing an FW-190 while on a bomber escort mission over Politz.
Wetmore served two combat tours, which enabled him to witness the last
gasps of the Luftwaffe's once mighty fighter force.
On November 27, he and his wingman, Lt. Robert York, became embroiled
in a seemingly one-sided dogfight - the odds were 50 to one! Wetmore
quickly called in help when two more gaggles of 100 fighters each
were sighted. Unfortunately, the rest of the flight had aborted with
engine troubles, so Wetmore and York stalked the massive force alone. When
the enemy saw the size of the opposition, the hunters became the hunted.
"We had to attack in self-defence." Wetmore said later.
With little choice remaining, the P-51s waded into the fighters, and
they quickly reduced the odds by one apiece. A good burst with a 20 degree
deflection shot brought Wetmore's second kill. He then turned into the
attack of another Bf-109, and the pair twisted and turned as the
respective pilots strove for the upper hand. Wetmore finally got the
advantage, and shot off all his ammunition, whereupon his foe bailed out.
Now defenceless, Wetmore bluffed for another ten minutes before
extricating himself from the melee.
He followed this up with another big score on Valentine's Day 1945.
Vectored by ground control onto enemy fighters near an aerodrome west of
Dummer Lake, he sighted four FW-190s flying in line below him. He dived
and shot down the last FW-190 in line. Firing at a second, he saw the
pilot attempt to break and dive, but he had no altitude and snap rolled
into the ground. Shooting down a third FW-190, Wetmore called to his
wingman to take out the last one. Shots were exchanged before a fogged
windscreen ruined the pilot's aim, and Wetmore finished off the German.
Reforming to attack other FW-190s, a new P-51 joined the fray. Wetmore and
the newcomer opened up, and both German pilots bailed out. Wetmore was
credited with four downed and one shared.
For his final kill on March 15, he shot down the fourth and last Me-163
Komet to fall to the guns of Eighth Air Force Mustangs. Operating around
Berlin, Wetmore spotted two Me-163s and he closed to 300 yards, amazed as
he watched one of the rocket-fighters zoom upward. He followed as well as
he could, and at 20,000 the Komet's engine flamed out. The Me-163
split-assed and dived, with Wetmore on its tail. As his ASI indicated over
600 MPH, he opened fire at 200 yards. His strikes chopped away part of the
German's wing and the pilot took to his chute.
Wetmore was the highest scoring 8th AF ace in 1945. He continued in the
USAF after the war, only to die when his F-84 crashed in February 1951.