Ace of Aces, originally published in 1962, is the account of the illustrious career of Richard Ira "Dick" Bong, fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) and the United States' highest-scoring air ace.
Bong is credited with having shot down at least 40 Japanese aircraft during World War II, all from his P-38 Lightning fighter. For his actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Following the war, Bong became a test pilot assigned to Lockheed's Burbank, California plant, where he flew the new P-80 Shooting Star jet fighter. On August 6, 1945, the jet's primary fuel pump malfunctioned during takeoff, and while Bong managed to eject from the aircraft, he was too low for his parachute to deploy, and was killed in the accident. Tragically, Bong was only 25 years old. His death was front-page news across the country, sharing space with the first news of the bombing of Hiroshima.
Author General George Kenney was commander of air forces in the Pacific during World War Two.
Richard "Dick" Bong...
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- 09 Jan 42: Receives wings, commissioned 2nd Lieutenant
- 12 Jun 42: Reprimanded, grounded for reckless flying
- 10 Sep 42: Assigned to 9th Fighter Squadron, Australia
- 27 Dec 42: Shoots down his first two Japanese planes
- 07 Jan 43: Shoots down his 3rd and 4th Japanese planes
- 08 Jan 43: Gets 5th Japanese plane, becoming an Ace
- 11 Mar 43: Gets his 7th and 8th kills
- 29 Mar 43: Gets his 9th kill
- 14 Apr 43: Scores his 10th kill, becomes a Double Ace
- 26 Jul 43: Shoots down 4 fighters, awarded DSC
- 06 Aug 45 - Killed while testing new P-80 jet fighter in USA.
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