World War II Fighter Aces at Museum
SEATTLE, April 9, 2009--The latest in a continuing series of The Museum of Flight American Fighter Aces Panel discussions is April 18 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the William M. AllenTheater. Maj. William H. "Bill" Allen flew P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs during the war. Allen will tell how on one flight he was credited with five air combat victories, which made him an "ace in a day." Lt. Gen. George Loving initially flew Spitfires, and then transitioned to the P-51B Mustang with which he scored five victories. Capt. David C. Wilhelm graduated from Yale before training as a pilot and being sent to the Mediterranean Theater. He is credited with six confirmed victories. An audience question and answer session follows the program. The presentation is free with admission to the Museum and to Museum members.
William H. Allen
A Los Angeles native, Allen entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in July 1942, and flew P-39s and P-38s in the United States before being assigned to the 343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, at Wormingford, England in April 1943. He flew combat missions in P-38s and P-51s. On Sept. 5, 1944 while returning from an escort mission over Germany, he spotted airplanes taking off from the airport at Goppingen. His flight of four P-51s attacked. The group downed 16 enemy aircraft with no losses. Allen himself was credited with five aerial victories.
George G. Loving, Jr.
George Loving was born in Roanoke, Va. and joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942. Loving flew as a flight commander with the 309th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group, from bases in Italy from Oct. 1943 to Sept. 1944, participating in air battles over much of Europe. He flew 101 missions in Spitfires and 50 missions in P-51s. His five aerial combat victories were earned while flying P-51s. He was also credited with damaging two enemy aircraft. He was promoted to Captain before his 21st birthday. He continued a career with the U.S. Air Force, flying combat missions during the Korean War. Prior to his retirement Loving rose to Lt. Gen. commanding the 6th Allied Tactical Air Force (NATO), Fifth Air Force and U.S. Air Forces, Japan.
David C. Wilhelm
Chicago native Wilhelm entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 after graduation from Yale University with a Second Lieutenant's commission through ROTC. As a pilot he was assigned to the same fighter group as co-panelist George Loving--the 309th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group. Wilhelm initially few Spitfires and soon transitioned to the P-51 Mustang. Wilhelm was involved in escort missions during the famous Allied bombing raids over Ploesti, Romania. Wilhelm is credited with six aerial combat victories with aircraft including Me-109s, FW-190s and an Me-210. He left the service at the end of the war and established a successful career in the cattle industry.
Museum visitors can see examples of the actual types of aircraft these men flew and fought against, including the P-38, P-40, P-47 and Me-109. The Museum also has many other World War II fighter aircraft on display. The Museum is the home of the American Fighter Aces Association.