Ace of the Day: Brig. General Frederick R. “Fritz” Payne, USMC (Ret)


Brigadier General, USMC (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 5 1/2


Frederick Rounsville (Fritz) Payne, Jr., was born on July 31, 1911, at Elmira, New York. He attended Culver Military Academy in Indiana before entering the U.S. Naval Academy in July 1930. Resigning from the Academy in 1932, he completed his college education at the University of Arizona in January 1935. Upon graduation he resigned his Army ROTC commission and entered the Marine Corps aviation cadet program that July. Ordered to flight training at Pensacola, Payne was commissioned a second lieutenant in July 1936 and designated a Naval Aviator in September.

Major Payne entered combat at Guadalcanal in September 1942 on detached duty with VMF-223. His first victory was a half-share in a Japanese twin-engine bomber on September 14, followed by a solo victory two weeks later. When his own squadron, VMF-212, arrived in October, Payne quickly added four more victories – two bombers and a pair of Zekes between October 18 and 23 to become a Wildcat ace.

Following World War II, Colonel Payne remained in aviation assignments. A variety of duties followed including 1st Marine Air Wing in Korea, helicopter unit command and responsibility for planning and control of land and air elements in atomic weapons tests during 1957. He retired from active duty with the rank of brigadier general on August 1, 1958.

Decorations: Navy Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with Combat “V”, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 4 Gold Stars

Source: American Fighter Aces Album ©1996

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