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In Greenville, the men received combat aviation instruction: 120 hours that focused on

formation flying, combat strategy, and gunnery. The training included both low and high

altitude practice runs on the P-47 fighter airplane.31

Youth and an impulsive personality brought an abrupt change in Mr. Gallardo’s

assignment. Because he disobeyed orders and “buzzed” (flew over) over the city, Mr. Gallardo

was restricted from flying and given a temporary assignment as the officer in charge of the

squadron’s mechanics. Mr. Gallardo remembers this experience.

“This was helpful to me because I was able to learn a lot,” he says. “I was in charge of

the ground services. I felt very sad, but I know that I would one day fly again and I did.”32

President Camacho was extremely influential in the negotiations that designated the war

assignment for the Mexican Squadron 201. After expressing his admiration for General

MacArthur and his desire that the squadron be assigned to the Pacific Theater, U.S. Ambassador

to México, George Messersmith, related the notion to President Roosevelt. After receiving

approval from both the Mexican Senate and General MacArthur, preparations for departure

began early 1945.33

The men received further air combat training in Brownsville, Texas, in February 1945.

The men had now completed every face of their training. A graduation ceremony was held on

31 30

Tudor, “Flight of Eagles: The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force”, 109. Pérez Gallardo, interview

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