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Richard Ira Bong, America's "Ace of Aces" in World War 2 was born in September, 1920, the son of a Swedish immigrant in Superior, Wisconsin.  In September, 1942, Bong was one of the pilots tasked to join the 49th Fighter Group. Bong was assigned to the 9th Fighter Squadron, the "Flying Knights," and was sent to Australia. While waiting for P-38s to be delivered, he flew with the 39th FS of the 35th FG, operating out of Port Moresby, New Guinea. On December 27, 1942, while flying with the 35th, Bong scored his first aerial victories, a Zero and an Oscar, and earned a Silver Star.  Bong began shooting down Japanese planes at a rapid rate. After his 27th victory, General George Kenney took him out of action and promoted him to major.   In September, 1944 he returned to the Pacific as a gunnery training officer, but he voluntarily flew 30 more combat missions over Borneo and the Philippine Islands, destroying more enemy aircraft.  After Bong scored his 40th victory, he was sent home. He was America's "Ace of Aces," with 40 aerial victories, 200 combat missions and more than 500 combat hours behind him. Among his many medals were the Distinguished Service Cross, seven Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Silver Stars and 15 Air Medals.  On August 6, 1945, Bong stepped into an airplane for the last time.  His P-80 malfunctioned just after take-off, and while he bailed out, he was too close to the ground. After surviving two years of combat flying, Bong died on a routine acceptance flight..Credit: U.S. Air Force via CNP
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Richard Ira Bong, America's "Ace of Aces" in World War 2 was born in September, 1920, the son of a Swedish immigrant in Superior, Wisconsin. In September, 1942, Bong was one of the pilots tasked to join the 49th Fighter Group. Bong was assigned to the 9th Fighter Squadron, the "Flying Knights," and was sent to Australia. While waiting for P-38s to be delivered, he flew with the 39th FS of the 35th FG, operating out of Port Moresby, New Guinea. On December 27, 1942, while flying with the 35th, Bong scored his first aerial victories, a Zero and an Oscar, and earned a Silver Star. Bong began shooting down Japanese planes at a rapid rate. After his 27th victory, General George Kenney took him out of action and promoted him to major. In September, 1944 he returned to the Pacific as a gunnery training officer, but he voluntarily flew 30 more combat missions over Borneo and the Philippine Islands, destroying more enemy aircraft. After Bong scored his 40th victory, he was sent home. He was America's "Ace of Aces," with 40 aerial victories, 200 combat missions and more than 500 combat hours behind him. Among his many medals were the Distinguished Service Cross, seven Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Silver Stars and 15 Air Medals. On August 6, 1945, Bong stepped into an airplane for the last time. His P-80 malfunctioned just after take-off, and while he bailed out, he was too close to the ground. After surviving two years of combat flying, Bong died on a routine acceptance flight..Credit: U.S. Air Force via CNP

Filename: 031313USAF-History065.jpg
Source: Consolidated News Photos
Date: 28 Aug 2002
Location: United States of America
Credit: U.S. Air Force via CNP
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