First Lieutenant Edward Jack Hitt began combat as a pilot with the 96th Bomb Group, 337th Bomb Squadron. He completed 35 missions, with 15 as either a lead or command pilot. Due to his excellent combat record, Hitt trained to become a P-51 pilot and in 1945 joined the newly developed Third Scouting Force. This specialized unit began operations in the fall of 1944 and provided current weather patterns and enemy locations to Third Air Division B-17 formations. As a Third Scouting Force pilot, Hitt completed at least 10 missions. He was discharged from the Armed Forces in July 1945.
During his service, Hitt received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart. He died on 12 August 2011 and is buried in Tulsa, OK.
Edward Jack Hitt’s Collection is treasured at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force and contains some particularly interesting items relating to the Scouting Forces. Mission logs from April 1945 contain call signs, authentication codes, waypoints, and altitudes. One document of particular interest is the 12 July 1944 proposal from Colonel Bud J. Peaslee, which outlined the creation of the Scouting Force. All Eighth Air Force Bomber and Fighter Commanders received a copy of this document. In addition, the Hitt collection includes his military records and numerous photographs. One photograph shows Lt. Hitt seated in a P-51 cockpit as a Third Scouting Force pilot. Of special note is Hitt’s A-2 jacket with a Third Scouting Force patch on the left breast and artwork on the back depicting a reclining woman with ‘Sweet 17 Gee’ painted above and 30 bombs below.
From the Roger A. Freeeman Research Center