Richard Ira Bong is a veteran in the United States for the positions of:
- Army Air Forces major
- Medal of Honor recipient (WorldWar II)
Richard was a decorated American fighter pilot and the top flying ace in the country’s war before, credited with the shooting down of 40 Japanese aircraft. Discover more of the life and works of Richard I. Bong at the veterans museum in Wisconsin.
Childhood years of Bong
Bong had grown up with Swedish parents in Poplar, Wisconsin as one of the 9 children. Richard became interested in aircraft at an early age and was a keen model builder. He studied at Superior State Teachers College in 1938 and 1941. He enlisted in the AACAP (Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program).
Richard is known for
Richard is known as Ace or Ace for his rank as the top American flying ace during World War II. Major Richard Ira Bong is credited with downing of impressive confirmed total of 40 enemy aircraft in his career as a fighter pilot
Why was Bong called the deadliest fighter pilot?
Bong during the years of service (1941-1945) had killed 40 enemy aircraft during World War II. As one of the most decorated American pilots, achieving the confirmed five kills was a feat that earned the fighter pilot the title of Ace. But, at the end of World War II, Bong achieved 40 confirmed kills that gave the title of “Ace of Aces”.
Bong had admitted that the gunnery skills he had were poor, but he repaid it by getting as close to the targets as possible, sometimes as close as flying through the debris of the enemy aircraft. During World War II, Bong was the recipient of various congratulatory gifts from the military elite, including the case of Scotch from WWI ace Eddie Rickenbacker.
Bong beat Rickenbacker’s record of 26 kills. Bong has received the following awards:
- Medal of Honor
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Two Silver Stars
- Seven Distinguished Flying Crosses
- 15 Air Medals
Major Bong received full training at Muroc Lake Flight Test Base, California for the course of P-80s.
How old was Bong died?
Richard I. Bong died at age 24 (1920-1945). He died in August when the plane engine he drove failed during the flight over Burbank. Though assigned on duty as a gunnery instructor, Major Bong voluntarily and engaged in repeated combat missions, including:
- Balikpapan, Borneo
- Leyte, Philippines
The aggressiveness and daring resulted in Bong’s shooting down enemy planes totalling 8 during this period and gaining the Medal of Honor, personally awarded by Douglas MacArthur who lauded Bong as the greatest fighter ace of all the Americans.
Schools Richard Bong attended
Richard Bong, a World War II flying ace and Medal of Honor recipient, attended Superior State Teachers College (now known as the University of Wisconsin–Superior) in Superior, Wisconsin. He graduated in 1940 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. After his time at Superior State Teachers College, Bong entered the U.S. Army Air Corps and went on to become America’s highest-scoring ace during World War II, credited with shooting down 40 Japanese aircraft.
Bong’s achievements earned him the Medal of Honor, and he became a celebrated figure in the United States during the war. Bong’s education was primarily at the college level, and he is more widely recognized for his military service and accomplishments than a variety of academic institutions.