Lt. Charles F. Gumm was the first pilot to down an enemy aircraft in a P-51B on December 16, 1943. On the mission to Bremen Lt. Gumm came home with a claim of one JU 88 damaged and one BF 109 shot down at 1330 hours. A little over 2 months later on February 21,1944 Lt. Gumm becomes the first ace of the 354th Fighter Group by downing a BF 110 over Brunswick at 1430 hours.
Lt. Gumm's career would end very unexpectedly on March 1, 1944 as the P-51 he was checking out developed engine trouble on take-off. He realized he was over the town of Nayland and realized if he bailed out to save himself his plane would crash in the English town and claim innocent lives. He decided to stay with his plane and force landed it hitting a tree which threw him from his plane killing him. At the time Lt. Gumm died he was the leading ace for the group with 7 1/2 victories to his credit.
Lt. Gumm checking his ammo trays with help from one of his crew.