Richard Bong

America’s highest scoring Ace, Medal of Honor Winner

By the time he was 24 years old, Richard Bong had shot down 40 enemy fighters. Starting out flying P-40 Warhawks in Papua New Guinea, he got his first kills on the outdated fighter, before being presented with a P-38 Lightning he nicknamed, “Marge”.

He considered himself a poor shot and to compensate, he got as close to his targets as possible, often flying through the smoking debris left by his guns. On one occasion he actually ran into his target and counted it as a probable kill.

Known for taking chances and daring flying skills, he once flew downtown Oakland, California to buzz the house of a newly engaged member of his squadron and do loops around the Golden Gate Bridge. He was written up by his commander who said, “If you didn’t want to fly down Market Street, I would not have you in my Air Force, but don't do it again”

Richard Bong was killed in 1945 test piloting the P-80 Shooting Star jet fighter for Lockheed, due to a fuel pump failure he was not able to eject high enough for his chute to deploy.

It takes Valor to throw caution to the wind and fight for your country

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