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Canadian-born Perry John “P.J.” Dahl had dreamed of flying as a youngster growing up in Washington state. His dream would become a realization when he was assigned to the 475th Fighter Group in New Guinea in 1943.
The 475th was the first ever fighter group made up entirely of P-38s. The greater range of the P-38 allowed the Americans to escort bombers and take the fight directly to Japanese held positions.
Dahl would go on to survive 158 combat missions, several emergency landings, a midair bailout, and two days adrift in a life raft. He would become known as the pilot "with nine lives".
When asked about his thoughts looking back at his experience during WWII, P.J. said "I remember how close we were as a unit. In War, if you make a mistake, you lose a friend or you die. The stakes were high but our focus on victory never wavered."
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