Aanenson, Quentin C., CPT

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Army Air Corps
Last Primary MOS
AAF 1056-Pilot Single-Engine Fighter
Last MOS Group
Army Air Force
Primary Unit
1944-1945, AAF 1056, USAAF 9th Army Air Force
Service Years
1942 - 1946

Army Air Corps


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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Aanenson, Quentin C., CPT.
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Bethesda, MD

Date of Passing
Dec 28, 2008
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 64 Site 6992

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Honorably Discharged WW II

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Last Known Activity
see www.arlingtoncemetery.org
Captain Aanenson was a World War II veteran Fighter Pilot and former Captain of the 391st Fighter Squadron, 366th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, US Army Air Corps. He flew the P47 Thunderbolt in the Normandy D-Day invasion and subsequent European Campaign.

Aanenson enlisted in the united states Army air cors in 1942but was not called to active duty until February 1943. He left for Santa Ana Air Force base for Pre-Flight training and then to Primary Flight School at Thunderbird field near Phoenix, Arizona. In September 1943, he left for Basic Flight School at Gardner Field near Bakersfield, California. Aanenson then left for Advanced Flight training at Luke Field, Phoenix, Arizona., where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on Januaury 7, 1944. From January 1944 to May 1944 he trained at Harding Field in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he met his wife Jackie.

Aanenson demonstrated exceptional courage and abilty as a Fighter pilot, amassing tens of kills and beating all odds to survive the early months of his tour of duty. Later in the war, Aanenson was taken out of th cockpit, embedded with Advanced Troops, and his skills put to good  use as a quick-response aircraft attack co-ordinator. He eventually documented his experiences for his family. This was later turned into a documenary video which he wrote, produced and narrated. "A Fighter Pilot's Story" was first televised on 11 December or 12 November 1993, then broadcast on over 300 public television stations in June 1994.
Other Comments:

Quentin Aanenson served as a pilot with the 391st Fighter Squadron of the 366th Fighter Group, flying 75 missions in Europe.

Aanenson was one of the veterans whose story was told in Ken Burns' documentary series 'The War'. The text that follows is from the PBS website:

'Quentin Aanenson, the 5th of 6 children, was born on April 21, 1921, on a 160 acre farm five miles from Luverne. His grandparents had come to America from Norway and both of his parents grew up speaking Norwegian at home. He graduated from high school in 1939 attended the University of Minnesota for two years. In the summer of 1941 he moved to Seattle, where he got a job at Boeing and attended the University of Washington and was there when Pearl Harbor was attacked.'

'Although Aanenson hoped to become a pilot, colorblindness disqualified him -- until he took the eye test enough times to memorize it. He was accepted into the Army Air Corps in February 1943 and by early 1944 had graduated from flight school and been selected for fighter pilot training at Harding Field in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Two weeks after he got there, Aanenson met a local girl, Jacqueline Greer, at a dance. They began to date and quickly fell in love. They promised to write to each other every day while he was overseas, and she agreed not to date any other man more than three times. In mid-May of 1944 Aanenson arrived in England and in June was assigned to the 366th Fighter Group, 391st Fighter Squadron.'

'Aanenson's first combat mission was D-Day, June 6, 1944; he flew his P-47 Thunderbolt over the English Channel and dropped his bombs on German positions behind Pointe du Hoc in advance of the Allies' landing. On June 16th his squadron relocated to Normandy, and from there he flew bombing and strafing missions aimed at enemy troops and strong points. On July 25, 1944 Aanenson and his fighter group were among the 3,000 planes that bombed the German lines as part of Operation Cobra.'

'On August 3, 1944, on a mission over Vire, France, Aanenson's plane was hit by flak and caught on fire. When he tried to bail out but couldn't, he put his plane into a steep dive, trying to crash as quickly as possible. The change in air pressure extinguished the cockpit fire, and Aanenson managed to fly back to his base and crash-land, suffering a concussion, dislocated shoulder, and burns. As soon as he recovered, he was back in the air again.'

'November 17, 1944 was one of the most devastating days for Aanenson and his squadron. They flew in low under the clouds in order to attack German artillery and tanks just behind the front lines. German anti-aircraft gunners hit most of the 12 planes in his squadron. Aanenson's own plane was hit twice. Two of his three tent mates were killed.'

'By mid-December 1944, Aanenson had been in intense combat for almost six months. He had been caught in three cockpit fires; his planes were hit by flak on 20 missions; he had to crash land his plane twice; once his plane was hit by an 88mm cannon shell and nearly destroyed. (Aanenson's fighter group - consisting of 125 pilots at any given time - would lose 90 pilots over the course of the European war.)'

'When the Battle of the Bulge began, Aanenson was stationed in Belgium, and he was given a new assignment coordinating the close air support in front of the VII Corps. For 36 hours during the Bulge, he and his radio man were trapped behind enemy lines in the Ardennes.'

'In early 1945, Aanenson was promoted to captain, and in March was given a leave to go home. He went straight to Louisiana to see Jackie Greer and they were married three weeks later. When the war with Japan ended Aanenson was still in the United States, stationed in Atlantic City. After his discharge, he and Jackie moved to Baton Rouge, where he attended Louisiana State University and then embarked upon a successful career in the insurance business. He and Jackie have three children and eight grandchildren.'



Units served with

  • 366th Fighter Group

    366th Fighter Group

    The Group moved in England over the New Year of 1944, setting up home first at Membury and then at Thruxton. The pilots' first mission was a fighter sweep of the French coast in March 1944 and from then until D-Day that June the ground supported Allied... 

  • 391st Fighter Squadron

    391st Fighter Squadron


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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Army Air Service Primary Flight TrainingUSAAF 9th Army Air Force
  1942-1943, 522, USAAF Training Command
  1943-1943, AAF 775, US Army Air Service Primary Flight Training
  1944-1944, AAF 1056, USAAF 9th Army Air Force
  1944-1944, AAF 1056, 391st Bomb Group, USAAF 9th Army Air Force
  1944-1945, AAF 1056, USAAF 9th Army Air Force
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1942-1944 WWII - American Theater
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Normandy Campaign (1944)1
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Northern France Campaign (1944)/Operation Cobra
  1944-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Ardennes Alsace Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of the Bulge
 Colleges Attended 
University of Minnesota-DuluthUniversity of WashingtonLouisiana State University at Baton Rouge
  1939-1941, University of Minnesota-Duluth
  1941-1942, University of Washington
  1946-1947, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge
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