BATTLE OF THE SKIES: Bong

Whatever the great U.S. ace race might be doing to fighter pilots' teamwork against the enemy, it was making news and new heroes. Out in front last week was a blond, crinkle-eyed, corn-fed youngster from Poplar, Wis. Over Hollandia, New Guinea, the Army Air Forces' stocky, 23-year-old Captain Richard Ira Bong had smashed Captain Eddie Rickenbacker's 26-year-old record* by knocking down his 26th and 27th Jap aircraft.

Day after he put down his Lockheed Lightning on his home base, Dick Bong became a major. He had also a clear claim to the title "U.S. ace of aces," which had been...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!