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In the Philippines, the men were assigned to camp in Porac Field, as part of the 58th

Fighter Group of the U.S. Fifth Air Force. On June 7, 1945, after a month long orientation, “el

Escuadrón 201,” began to participate in flight missions. Although many voiced their concerns

about the quality of the squadron, the men participated in 52 missions during the month of

June.37

Mr. Gallardo remembers the importance of America’s return to the Philippines and the

great sense of responsibility that he felt.

“General MacArthur had been in the island and had left in very bad terms. Returning to

the Philippines was a great commitment. In which the United States, not only MacArthur, but

the United States had on coming back. They had to return. It was very important, not only in a

strategic sense, but also because of global and political prestige.”38

Combat missions included bombings over areas such as Antipolo and the Malavite

Mountains. Although only in the Philippines for six months, the squadron actively participated

in 59 combat missions totaling over 1,290 hours of flight.39 They successfully participated in the

Allied effort to bomb Luzón and Formosa in an attempt to push the Japanese out of the islands.

The squadron also provided ground support for the American soldiers after the aerial threat from

Japan weakened.

He recalls feelings of distrust towards the Mexican fighter pilots, from the men of the 58th

Fighter group. But, he says, these sentiments ended after the men of Squadron 201 began to

successfully complete missions.

35 38

Tudor, “Flight of Eagles: The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force”,164-165 Pérez Gallardo, interview.

37 38

Tudor, “Flight of Eagles: The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force”, 303. Pérez Gallardo, interview.

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