Maj RICHARD I BONG
U.S. Army Air Corps.
Over Borneo and Leyte
10 Oct 15 Nov 1944
Bong was a Gunnery instructor and not required to fly Combat Missions. – He flew them anyway.
Maj. Bong was adamant about being allowed to fly combat sorties in addition to his duties as an instructor. Between 10 Oct, and 15 Nov. Bong volunteered for, and flew several unusually hazardous sorties over Balikpapan, Borneo, and in the Leyte area of the Philippines. His aggressiveness flying and skill in a dogfight cost the enemy 8 aircraft and crews during that time.
By January, 1945 Bong was America’s “Ace of Aces,” with 40 confirmed aerial victories, several assumed but not confirmed aerial kills, 200 combat missions, and over 500 combat hours
On August 6, 1945, Major Dick Bong stepped into an airplane for the last time. His P-80 experience a catastrophic failure just after take-off.
Bong Bailed out but was too low to get canopy inflation and died on impact.