Ace of the Day: Lieutenant John T. Crosby, USNR (Ret)

by Jan Baker 24 Mar 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0


Lieutenant, USNR (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 5 ¼


Ted CrosbyJohn Theodore (Ted) Crosby, born on July 30, 1920, in Eureka, California, grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and entered Navy flight training on June 10, 1942. Following graduation and commissioning in May 1943, he was assigned to VF-18 flying F6F-3 Hellcats aboard the USS Bunker Hill in the Western Pacific.

Ensign Crosby was credited with one-fourth of an aerial victory on November 26, sharing in the destruction of a Betty bomber with the other members of his division. On April 16, 1945, flying a protective cover of a picket destroyer north of Okinawa, Crosby’s flight was vectored toward an enemy formation approaching from the north. At 20,000 feet a group of 12 enemy aircraft were sighted, still higher. Upon reaching the altitude of 25,000 feet, it appeared to be a formation of kamikazes being led by new Jack fighters. After a series of attacks, Crosby accounted for three Jacks, one Zeke and one Val, becoming an “ace-in-a-day”.

Crosby remained in the Navy following World War II and was promoted to commander on December 1, 1957. He retired from the Navy in July 1969.

Decorations: Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Gold Stars, Air Medal with 8 Gold Stars and the Presidential Unit Citation with one blue star

Source: American Fighter Aces Album ©1996

Final Flight: First Lt. Barrie S. Davis, USAAF (Ret)

by Jan Baker 10 Mar 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0


First Lieutenant, USAAF (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 6


Barrie_UniformBarrie Spilman Davis, born on December 22, 1923, in Lenoir County, North Carolina. Barrie left his studies at Wake Forest College in North Carolina to join the Army Air Forces on June 6, 1942. Entering pilot training, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon receipt of his pilot’s wings on August 30, 1943, at Dothan, Alabama.

On June 28, 1944, Davis scored his first victory, downing a FW-190 over Bucharest, Hungary, and four days later he shot down two Me-109s west of Budapest. He completed his scoring in August, with another Me-109 destroyed southeast of Blechhammer on the 7th and a FW-190 and Me-109 downed near Lake Balatan on the 22nd, making him an ace.

He returned to the U.S. on November 23, a 21-year-old captain, and was released from active duty on October 15, 1945. Davis remained in the National Guard until March 1978, retiring as a colonel in the field artillery. He was also rated as a master army aviator in fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. Davis recently passed on August 19, 2014.

Decorations: Decorations: Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and the Air Medal

Barrie S. Davis Obituary

Ace of the Day: Colonel Abner M. Aust, Jr.

by Jan Baker 09 Mar 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0


Colonel, USAAF (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 5


Aust Abner Alonefrom GroupBorn on October 7, 1921, in Scooba, Mississippi, Abner Maurice Aust, Jr., graduated from the Army Air Corps flying school at Luke Field, Arizona on April 12, 1943. Following a tour as a fighter instructor, he flew P-51s from Guam, Tinian, and Iwo Jima with the 506th Very Long Range Fighter Group.

Aust’s first encounter with the enemy occurred over Nagoya, Japan on August 16, 1945. On that day, Aust led an eight-aircraft sweep over the main island of Honshu, starting about 100 miles northeast of Tokyo and ending southeast of Tokyo at a very well-camouflaged fighter base. He attacked six Franks and when the fight was over he had destroyed three and damaged two more. On August 10, Aust became one of the last aces of World War II when he destroyed two Japanese Zeros and damaged another over Tokyo.

Aust remained in the Air Force following the war and served in a variety of command and staff positions over the next 27 years. Promoted to colonel on November 17, 1963, he commanded the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida in 1967 and the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing in Vietnam from May 3, 1968, to February 8, 1969. Sent to Japan, he commanded the 475th Air Base Wing at Misawa in 1971 and then went to South Korea, where he commanded the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing. He retired from the Air Force on July 1, 1972.

Decorations: Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 25 OLCs and 3 Vietnamese decorations

Motivational Monday Post: Major Robert S. Johnson

by Jan Baker 09 Mar 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0



Major, USAAF (Ret)

WWII  ::  Confirmed Kills- 27


“Everything I ever learned about air fighting taught me that the man who is aggressive, who pushes a fight, is the pilot who is successful in combat and who has the best opportunity for surviving battle and coming home.”

– Major Robert S. Johnson, USAAF


mht25CA(1).tmpRobert S. Johnson survived an awful beating one day in June, 1943, when a Luftwaffe pilot shot up his helpless (but very rugged) P-47 Thunderbolt.

If that German pilot ever knew whom he hadn’t killed, he surely lived to regret it. Bob Johnson would go on to score 27 aerial victories in his time with the 56th Fighter Group, one of the top scoring groups in the ETO, under its great leader, Col. Hub Zemke. The top two aces of the Eighth Air Force, Johnson and Gabby Gabreski, both flew P-47s with “Zemke’s Wolfpack.”

When his combat tours were finished, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, returned Stateside, to a hero’s welcome, and to PR roles like War Bond tours. Johnson enjoyed these publicity jobs, unlike his quiet, reserved friend, Dick Bong, America’s “Ace of Aces,” who had just come back from the Pacific.

After the war, Johnson went to work for Republic Aircraft, and spent some time in Korea, in a split role as a civilian observer and as a USAF Lieutenant Colonel. He wrote his autobiography in 1958, and later moved to South Carolina, where he ran a successful insurance business. He remained active on the lecture circuit and in military aviation circles under his death in December, 1998.

Full Article:


Media Update: Wings of Valor Featured in the Marketing NW (Seattle)

by Jan Baker 04 Mar 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0

Ace of the Day: Lt. General Charles G. Cleveland

by Jan Baker 04 Mar 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0


Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 5


Chick Cleveland

Charles G. “Chick” Cleveland, was born on November 13, 1927, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1945. After graduating in 1949, he chose to become an aviator and earned his pilot wings at Williams AFB, Arizona.

Lieutenant General Charles G. “Chick” Cleveland’s distinguished Air Force career spanned nearly four decades. Within months of joining the 334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Kimpo Air Base, South Korea, he scored four MiG-15 kills. He left Korea with four confirmed and two probable kills—one confirmed victory short of becoming an ace.

In 2008, the Air Force awarded Lieutenant General Cleveland credit for one of his two probable victories in Korea and officially recognized him as the Air Force’s newest ace.

Lieutenant General Cleveland currently serves as president of the American Fighter Aces Association. He lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

Decorations: Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force), Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Republic of Korea Order of Military Merit, Chung Mu


Final Flight: Col. George I. Ruddell, USAF (Ret)

by Jan Baker 03 Mar 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0


Colonel, USAF (Ret)

WWII & KOREA :: Confirmed Kills- 10 1/2 (2 1/2 in WWII and 8 in Korea) and one damaged




51st Fighter Wing AcesGeorge I. Ruddell was born in Winnipeg Canada on January 21, 1919. Ruddell obtained his associate degree in aeronautical engineering at Los Angeles City College before enlisting in the Army Air Forces as a 22- year-old aviation cadet on October 21, 1941. He graduated with Class 42-E at Luke Field, Arizona on May 20, 1942.

Flying a P-47D out of Ashford, England, he shot down one Me-109 and shared in the destruction of a FW-190 on July 25, 1944. Moving to France, he downed a ‘109 on August 10. After the war, Ruddell commanded the 82nd and 83rd Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons. In July 1952, by then a lieutenant colonel, he volunteered for duty in Korea and later become commander of the 39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. Downing the first of eight MiG-15s on November 17, 1952, in April 1953 he became an ace when he bagged two MiG-15s back-to-back on the 11th and 12th, and destroyed another MiG five days later. May brought another three MiGs to his list, one each on the 18th, 26th and 29th. He scored his final victory on June 19.

After the Korean War, Ruddell was promoted to colonel and commanded the 479th and 33rd Tactical Fighter Wings. During the Vietnam War, although assigned to a non-flying job at Headquarters MACV in Saigon, he logged several missions as a C-47 pilot. He returned to the States in 1965 and retired on November 1, 1970.

He passed away peacefully at the Oregon Vetran’s Home in The Dalles, Oregon, on February 27, 2015.

Decorations: Silver Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 OLCs, Soldiers Medal, Bronze Star and the Air Medal with 29 OLC


Source: American Fighter Aces Album ©1996

Ace of the Day: Maj. Clarence E. Anderson, Jr., USAAF (Ret)

by Jan Baker 20 Feb 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0


Major, USAAF (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 16 ¾


Bud Anderson

California native Clarence Emil “Bud” Anderson Jr., was born January 13, 1922, in Oakland. He attended Sacramento Junior College before joining the U.S. Army Air Forces on January 19, 1942. Following graduation from the Aviation Cadet program on September 29, 1942, Lieutenant Anderson was assigned to the 363rd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group. The Group was sent to England in November 1943 and equipped with the new P-51.

Anderson, by then a captain, participated in the 357th’s first combat on February 20, 1943. He scored his first victory 30 miles northwest of Hanover, on March 8. He shot down a FW-190 30 miles southeast of Orleans, France on April 30 and became an ace on May 8, downing another FW-190 near Soltau. Following a brief rest tour in the States, Captain Anderson returned to combat with the 363rd, downing two FW-190s on November 27. He scored his last a week later, credited with two more FW-190s on December 5.

“Bud” Anderson remained in the Air Force following the war and commanded an F-86 squadron during the Korean War. During the Vietnam War he commanded the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. He retired from the Air Force on March 1, 1972, and subsequently went to work for McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft Corporation as manager of their flight test facility at Edwards AFB, California.

Decorations: Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with 4 OLCs, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 15 OLCs and the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Palm


Source: American Fighter Aces Album ©1996

Ace of the Day: Col. James E. Swett, USMCR (Ret)

by Jan Baker 11 Feb 2015 in Uncategorized Comments: 0


Colonel, USMCR (Ret)

WWII :: Confirmed Kills- 15 1/2, 4 Probables, & 1/4 Damaged


“I don’t consider myself to be a hero or invincible. But I do know that the Lord was in my cockpit each time I took off, and when I was shot down.” 

- JAMES E SWETT, Colonel, USMC (Ret),

Medal of Honor Recipient and American Fighter Ace

Colonel (USMC, Ret) James Elms Swett, (June 15, 1920 – January 18, 2009) was a United States Marine Corps fighter pilot and American Fighter Ace during World War II. He was awarded the United States Medal of Honor, for actions while a division flight leader in VMF-221 over Guadalcanal on April 7, 1943. Subsequently he downed a total of 15.5 enemy aircraft during the war, earning eight Distinguished Flying Crosses and four Air Medals.

Born on June 15, 1920 in Seattle, Washington, Colonel Swett graduated from San Mateo High School, San Mateo, California, and enrolled at the College of San Mateo in 1939. He earned his private pilot’s license prior to enlisting in the Naval Reserves and attending Navy Flight Training in September 1941.

Service in World War II – Colonel Swett completed flight training in early 1942, graduating in the top ten per cent of his class. Given the option of a commission in the Marine Corps or the Navy, he chose the Marine Corps, and was commissioned a second lieutenant at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, on April 1, 1942. After advanced flight training at Quantico, Virginia and Lake Michigan, and carrier qualification onboard the USS Wolverine, he received his wings at San Diego, California. In December 1942, he shipped out to the Southwest Pacific, and when he arrived at Guadalcanal he was assigned to VMF-221, which was part of Marine Air Group 12.
Medal of Honor action – On April 7, 1943, on his first combat mission, 22 year-old Swett became an American Fighter Ace – and acted with such “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” that he would be awarded the Medal of Honor.
His first mission was as a division leader on a combat air patrol over the Russell Islands early on the morning of April 7 in expectation of a large Japanese air attack. Landing to refuel, the four-plane division of F4F Wildcats he was leading was scrambled after other aircraft reported 150 planes approaching Ironbottom Sound. Swett’s Division intercepted a large formation of Japanese Aichi D3A dive bombers (Allied code name: “Val”) attacking Tulagi harbor.
When the fight became a general melee, Swett pursued three Vals diving on the harbor. After downing two, and while evading fire from the rear gunner of the third Val, the left wing of his F4F was holed by U.S. antiaircraft fire directed at the Japanese. Despite this, he shot down the third Val and turned toward a second formation of six Vals leaving the area.

Swett repeatedly attacked the line of dive bombers, downing each in turn with short bursts. He brought down four and was attacking a fifth when his ammunition was depleted and he had his cockpit shot up by return fire. Wounded, he decided to ditch his damaged fighter off the coast of Florida Island, after it became clear that his oil cooler had been hit and he would not make it back to base. After a few seconds his engine seized, and despite initially being trapped in his cockpit underwater, Swett extricated himself and was rescued in Tulagi harbor. This feat made the 22-year-old Marine aviator an American Fighter Ace on his first combat mission.

Decorations: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 Gold Stars, Purple Heart with one Gold Star, Air Medal with 21 Gold Stars, Presidential Unit Citations and a Navy Unit Citation

Source: American Fighter Aces Album ©1996