The writing is about the American pilot who destroyed the largest number of Axis aircraft during World War II. Richard Bong, a young fighter pilot, was known as a war hero of millions of Americans.
Richard, a 20-year-old pilot
Born on September 24, 1920, in the small village of Poplar, Wisconsin, Richard was the ninth child born to a couple who immigrated to the United States from Sweden. He was also passionate about the sport and was a school baseball, basketball, and hockey team member. From an early age, he developed a passion for airplanes, and as a teenager, made small aircraft models for fun.
After completing his schooling, entered a civil aviation pilot training course in 1938, completed all his examinations, and obtained his civilian pilot’s license in 1940 at the tender age of 20.
The brave young pilot
Bong enlisted in the US Air Force as a cadet on May 29, 1941, and completed his undergraduate pilot course at the Rankin Aeronautical Academy. The United States entered World War II after the 1941 Japanese airstrikes on Pearl Harbor. As a result, he had to return to the battlefield in 1942 as a second lieutenant.
For several months, Richard, who was an Air Course Instructor, had to report to Hamilton Air Force Base in California that same year and took up duties as a fighter pilot in the 49th Fighter Squadron. He attended training sessions with other pilots and had no qualms about piloting the then US Air Force Lockheed P-38, an efficient fighter jet.
It was appreciated by the commander of the 4th division knowing Richard’s took off from Hamilton Air Force Base, flew very fast, and bravely down to return safely to the runway. 1942 he was assigned to the 49th Squadron in Darwin, Australia, to fight the Japanese Air Force.
Crashing Japanese planes
On December 27, 1942, Richard recorded his first victory by shooting a Japanese A6M2 Zero fighter in the skies of Papua New Guinea. On January 6, 1943, Richard and his entourage were attacked by fighter jets from the Japanese Army regiment called the Sentai. In this battle, the Americans were able to shoot down six Japanese fighter jets, and Richard could destroy two aircraft in the war.
He transferred to the Ninth Squadron with an upgraded Lockheed P-38, and on March 3, he shot a Japanese fighter jet. By March 29, the number of planes he had destroyed had risen to nine, prompting the US Air Force to upgrade him to a lieutenant. On July 26, 1943, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for shooting down four more enemy aircraft.
By April 1944, Richard Bong was able to break the record of Eddie Rickenbacker, an American fighter pilot who had fought in World War I, had shot down 26 planes, being the “American pilot who had destroyed the largest number of aircraft.” At the same time, he got a promotion to the rank of Major.
He was then appointed as a Training Instructor and Commander of the 5th Squadron, after which he was no longer required to engage in air combat on duty. But Richard continued to fight as a fighter pilot, and he fought against Japanese fighter jets in the Philippines. By December of that year, the number of planes he had shot down had risen to 40. As a result, in December, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, the only award for excellence in the US military.
The tragic death
He was brought back to the United States for the wedding in January 1945; worked as a pilot flying new test fighter jets in California.
On August 6, 1945, he boarded a P80 jet to test. The plane crashes due to a technical fault, and Richard Bong passed away. The talented young pilot who destroyed the largest number of enemy planes during World War II for the United States died before stepping to age 25. That was precisely the day the US dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.