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A Brief History

The "Desert Shark" is a curtiss P40-E Warhawk. This aircraft was restored by Fagen Fighters restoration, and the Fagens won the Warbirds Grand Champion Gold Lindy for the impeccable work and craftsmanship that went into restoring this classic aircraft.  The prestigious Gold Lindy award is given to fewer than a dozen aircraft among the more than 2,500 showplanes that are flown to Oshkosh, WI each year for the experimental aircraft association's Airventure. 

325th Fighter Group

The 325th FG activated on August 3, 1942 at Mitchell Field, NY. At the end of August, they moved to Hillsgrove (Providence), RI, and began training for overseas combat. The 317th, 318th, and 319th Fighter Squadrons, were assigned to the group. In early January 1943, the group received orders for a permanent change of station to Langley Field, Virginia.

While at Langley, the Group received new model P-40s and trained to launch their planes from a Naval aircraft carrier. On the 7th of January, pilots flew their planes to the Naval Air Station, at Norfolk. They taxied their planes through the streets, with the aid of "wing walkers", to the USS RANGER, where naval personnel hoisted them on deck. The Group embarked for North Africa on 8 Jan, arriving off the coast of Casablanca late on the 18th.

In the early morning hours of the next day, the pilots launched their Warhawks, and flew to their first overseas station, Tafaraoui, Algeria. The rest became history. The 325th achieved one of the AAF’s most impressive combat records during World War II.

They flew all of the Army Air Forces primary fighters, during the war: the P-40 Warhawk, P-47 Thunderbolt, and P-51 Mustang. Twenty-seven of their pilots achieved Ace status (five or more aerial victories). They flew over 550 missions, achieved over 500 aerial victories and received Distinguished Unit Citations for two of them. The Group also achieved notariety as the first USAAF fighter unit to fly into Russia, on the first "shuttle mission" of the war, in 1944.

In October 1945, the group inactivated, but was activated once again for the Korean War. The unit underwent successive activations, inactivations, and redesignations. Today the 325th designation belongs to the 325th Fighter Wing, at Tyndall AFB, FL. Under Air Force tradition, the history and lineage of the original 325th FG has been "bestowed" on today’s active wing.

A P-40 Warhawk of the 317th Squadron

"Desert Shark" photo by Robert Bell

P-40's aboard the USS Ranger

P-40 Cutaway
Allison V-1710-39 liquid-cooled V12 engine

1150hp on take-off1350hp at max War Emergency setting

6,350 lbs. Empty8,280 lbs. Take-Off
Up to 8,810 lbs. Combat

Wingspan: 37.33 ft
Length: 31.67 ft
Height: 12.33 ft
Propeller Diameters: 11' 6"

Guns: 6 × .50 caliber M2 machine guns
Bombs: 250 to 1,000 lb bombs up to a total of 2,000 lbs

Maximum speed: 360 mph
Cruising speed: 270 mph
Range: 650 miles
Ceiling: 29,000 ft.