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

GEORGE I. RUDDELL

Colonel, USAF (Ret)

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

 

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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

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