Saturday, August 06, 2016

August 6, 1944: WWII Pilot George Preddy Downs 6 Planes

Preddy with his plane,  "Cripes A’Mighty"
Image from the 352nd Fighter Group Association Archive.

On August 6, 1944, Greensboro native George E. Preddy Jr., the top P-51 Mustang ace during World War II, downed six planes on a single day, earning a Distinguished Service Cross—the nation’s second highest award—in the process.

Preddy was a barnstormer pilot before the war. He tried three times to become a naval pilot but was rejected because of health problems. The Army Air Corps accepted Preddy, placing him on a waiting list for a cadet class. In 1940, he joined the National Guard, and he received his wings in December 1941.

In July 1942, Preddy was involved in a midair collision during training. Following a three-month recovery, he returned to the United States, and was eventually assigned to a squadron that was sent to Great Britain. He shot down his first plane in December 1943.

In April 1944, his squadron received the P-51 Mustang, and Preddy named his the Cripes A’Mighty. That same year he became the 487th’s temporary commander Fighter Squadron.

While flying in pursuit of a German plane during the Battle of the Bulge, Preddy was accidentally shot down by friendly ground fire. He is buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery in France.

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