The Cobra in the Clouds
Robert L. (Bob) Faurot was born on the 19th August 1917 in Missouri and attended Mizzou, playing in the Orange Bowl in 1939. Joining the Army Air Corps and training at Randolph and Kelly Fields, Foults was picked to head to Great Britain in 1940 to fly as an observer during the Battle of Britain. He got some hours in single seat Spitfires and Hurricanes with the Nos. 303 and 306 Squadrons, RAF, which were manned by Polish exiles before returning to the states just before Pearl Harbor.
When the balloon went up he was flying P-39s with the 39th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field, Michigan and the squadron, reclassified as the 39th Fighter Squadron, got orders to rush to Australia. Converting to the P-38 Lightning, Faurot led a bombing mission (yes, using P-38s) on the Japanese Air Base at Lae, New Guinea, destroying a Zero that was taking off in the process.
On March 3, 1943, during the Battle of the Bismarck sea, Capt. Robert L. Faurot was killed-in-action when the B-17s his squadron was jumped by about 30 Zeros.
More on Faurot below.
The 39th, the famed “Cobra in the Clouds” squadron is still around as the 39th Flying Training Squadron (39 FTS) at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.