Two Famous WWII Fighter Pilots Make Final Flights

Len Krenzler’s famous artwork depicting fighter pilot Bill Overstreet’s attack under the Eiffel Tower.

Two relatively famous World War II fighter pilots recently died.

The first was William Overstreet Jr, who while flying a P-51 as a member of the 357th Squadron famously chased an Me-109 under the Eiffel Tower in Nazi-held Paris, France.

Overstreet’s most famous flight came while in solo pursuit of a German Messerschmitt Bf 109G flying into Nazi-occupied Paris. He maneuvered his plane beneath the arches of the Eiffel Tower, re-igniting the spirit of the French Resistance troops on the ground.

The second was Jerry Coleman, potentially more known as a baseball broadcaster but also a Marine fighter pilot in World War II and Korea.

After he joined the military, he flew Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers in the Pacific in World War II…In October 1951, Coleman found out that Marine pilots from World War II were not discharged, but on inactive status and that he’d be going to Korea for 18 months. He missed the bulk of two seasons.

“Your country is bigger than baseball,” said Coleman…

The world is rapidly losing many of that generation. Regrettably, it has also lost much of the character for which that generation was so famous.

You can read more of Overstreet’s story at these sites; via Maggie’s Notebook.