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We salute Maj. Dick Bong, for obvious reasons

March 13, 2021
U.S. Air Force photograph

From the Task and Purpose website

Richard “Dick” Bong was born in Superior, Wisconsin on Sept 24, 1920. The eldest of nine children, he was raised on a small farm in nearby Poplar and in 1928 fell in love with aviation after a low passing plane buzzed the family home. “I knew then I wanted to be a pilot,” Bong said.

On May 29, 1941, Bong joined the Army Air Corps, enrolling in the Aviation Cadet Program. He was a natural from the start, recalled Capt. Barry Goldwater, (yes, the future United States Senator) who instructed Bong during advanced single-engine pilot training at Luke Field near Phoenix, Arizona. “I taught him fighter gunnery,” Goldwater said. “He was a very bright student. But the most important thing came from a P-38 check pilot who said Bong was the finest natural pilot he ever met. The pilot recalled that he could never prevent Bong from getting on his tail, even though Bong flew an AT-6, a very slow airplane.”

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