Gregory “Pappy” Boyington
Tiger Ace of the AVG, Medal Of Honor winner, Scourge of the South Seas
Gregory Boyington first fought with the AVG (Flying Tigers) in Asia and became an ace after downing 6 Japanese aircraft there. When the seven month deployment of the AVG ended, he joined the Marine Corps in the South Pacific flying the F4-U Corsair, a much improved fighter to his P-40 Warhawk.
A natural leader at age 31 he was a decade older than his fellow pilots earning him the name “Pappy” or “Gramps”. Known for aggressive tactics, he often taunted the Japanese by circling over their airfields to tempt them into sending up fighters for him to shoot down.
His actions in Papua New Guinea earned him a Medal of Honor for shooting down numerous fighters and sinking shipping. He was also awarded a Navy Cross for his actions over Rabaul as his 30 fighters took on 70 Japanese “Zeros” and he was shot down. He spent almost two years in a POW camp before the war ended.
The popular tv show Black Sheep Squadron was modeled after him and was mostly fiction but made him a household name. Boyington was Irish-Souix in background and was known to be a heavy drinker, boisterous brawler, and fierce fighter. He totaled up 26 enemy planes shot down and numerous ground targets. The Valor of this fighter will live on through the centuries to come.