Aerial Victory Credits Preface

Technology has revolutionized warfare. Inventions such as the repeating rifle, the machine gun, the guided missile, and the atomic bomb have magnified the destructive potential of armed forces and made warfare increasingly impersonal. In a sense, the airplane defied this trend, resurrecting the duel. In World War I, fighter pilots learned how to conduct their own personal battles, aerial versions of the jousts of the Middle Ages, in which one alone emerged the victor. Fighter aircraft made possible heroic recognition of individuals who were not generals or admirals. They were the knights of the sky.

The United States Air Force maintains an official record of individual aerial victory credits for each of the major conflicts in which American armed forces have participated since the application of the airplane to warfare. By so doing, it does more than merely acknowledge heroism. It also furnishes raw material that may help identify tactical and technological factors in the quest for air superiority.

Not long after the Korean conflict, Mr. Falk R. Harmel of the Awards Branch, Headquarters USAF, attempted to compile a list of all American aerial victory credits in that war. His files went to the Air Force Records Center at St. Louis, Missouri, where Mr. J. D. Kilgore and Mr. Cletus J. Cattoor continued research. Major George C. Bales collected data on the aces of the Korean War and later served as chairman of a board of officers who prepared Jet Aces of the Korean Conflict, published by the Air Force in 1957.

Headquarters USAF assigned responsibility for compiling and verifying Air Force aerial victory credits to the USAF Historical Division at Maxwell Air Force Base on June 5, 1957. Before the end of the year, the victory credits documents were transferred from St. Louis to Maxwell, and Air Force historians began research for the eventual publication of official listings.

A series of historical studies about USAF aerial victory credits followed. Dr. Albert F. Simpson, Chief of the USAF Historical Division, initiated the studies, and Dr. Maurer Maurer, Chief of the Historical Studies Branch, supervised the research. As part of Project Ace (1959-1962), Dr. Wesley P. Newton prepared A Preliminary List of U.S. Air Force Aces, 1917-1953. This list, published in 1962, paved the way for an accounting of all aerial victory credits.

Dr. Simpson and Dr. Maurer initiated the Korean aerial victory credits study in 1961, with Dr. Robert F. Futrell serving as consultant. Verification of data was largely the work of Mr. Lawrence J. Paszek and Air Force Reserve Lieutenant Colonels John F. Avery, Arthur H. Bowers, and John B. Deavours. Air University's data processing center tabulated and processed the data, and Mrs. Lois L. Lynn performed typing and clerical services. Mrs. Molly L. Keever prepared the final copy of USAF Historical Study 81, USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, Korean War, for the printer, and the Historical Division issued it in June 1963.

Dr. Simpson approved a new official accounting of World War I aerial victory credits in June 1965. Two reserve officers, Lieutenant Colonels Frank E. Donilon, Jr., and Gilbert B. Hollingsworth, Jr., conducted most of the research under Dr. Maurer's supervision. The researchers depended on the work of historians of the Air Service, American Expeditionary Forces, who compiled the first list of aerial victory credits in France just after the armistice of November 11, 1918. It was published in the "Thirteenth Report of Air Service Activities, AEF, for the Week Ending May 26, 1919". Revised by the Director of Air Service, U.S. Army, in Washington, the list appeared in Air Service Information Circular (Heavier-Than-Air), Vol. I, no. 7 (February 1920). The Air Corps revised this list again in 1931. Dr. Maurer's researchers also depended on assistance from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, the Air Historical Branch of the Ministry of Defense in England, and the Service Historique de l'Armee de l'Air in France. Air University's Data Automation Center processed the research data, and Mr. Donald D. Little proofed the tabulation drafts. In June 1969, the official World War I aerial victory credits list was published as USAF Historical Study No. 133: U.S. Air Service Victory Credits, World War I.

In 1971, Mr. Charles A. Ravenstein prepared a preliminary tabulation of Southeast Asia aerial victories. In October, the division and the Office of Air Force History jointly published the list, but it did not include new aerial victories scored after full-scale bombing of North Vietnam resumed in 1972. Mr. Ravenstein expanded the list, which appeared in March 1974 as USAF Historical Study 145: U.S. Air Force Combat Victory Credits, Southeast Asia. It was published by the Office of Air Force History and the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, a successor of the Historical Division. The two agencies collaborated again in 1976 to publish Aces and Aerial Victories: The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia, 1965-1973, which incorporated the Vietnam aerial victory statistics of the earlier study.

Thus far, the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center had published official aerial victories data on World War I, Korea, and Vietnam, but the largest war of all, World War II, remained to be done. Mr. James N. Eastman, Jr., Chief of the Research Division, supervised preparation of the World War II aerial victory credits. Four Air Force Reserve officers, Colonel Benjamin B. Williams, Major Donald B. Dodd, Lieutenant Colonel Forrest B. Dowdy, and Colonel Alfred Goldthwaite, participated in the project. Colonel Williams handled the basic research for the Fifth, Thirteenth, and Ninth (when it was in Africa) Air Forces, First Tactical Air Force (Provisional), and the Iceland Base Command. To keep confirmation consistent, he also reaccomplished the research on the Eighth, Ninth (in Europe), and Tenth Air Forces, which Calvin F. Senning had begun. Colonel Williams also monitored the work of the other reservists. Major Dodd completed work on the Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces in the Mediterranean Theater, using some of the preliminary data that Lieutenant Colonel Leigh H. Maier collected before he retired. Lieutenant Colonel Dowdy and Colonel Goldthwaite researched aerial victory credit statistics on the Seventh, Eleventh, Fourteenth, and Twentieth Air Forces.

The World War II aerial victories required extensive data processing, because there were almost 15,800 credits. Ms. Earline M. Gober and Mrs. M. Anne Hines keypunched data cards, and Master Sergeant Thaddeus E. Bugay assisted in editing the printouts. Providing typing services were Ms. Carolyn L. Smith and Ms. Sherry Y. Hassett. The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis and Air University's Data Automation Center assisted with the tabulations. The World War II list exceeded in volume the World War I, Korean, and Southeast Asian lists combined. USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II was published by the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center and the Office of Air Force History in 1978 as USAF Historical Study 85.

In 1988, the USAF Historical Research Agency, a redesignation of the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, published an expanded and corrected collection of the previous studies. Air Force Reserve Colonel William C. Stancik began the project, and I completed it after Colonel Stancik retired. We worked under the supervision of Mr. R. Cargill Hall, chief of the Research Division, and Mr. Lloyd H. Cornett, Jr., director of the center at the time. We also depended on many other persons, including Dr. Frank J. Olynyk, who supplied valuable information from other repositories; Mr. Thomas G. Dean, Mrs. M. Anne Hines, and Staff Sergeant Morris L. Cooley, who assisted with data automation; Mrs. Jacqueline B. Blamires and Mrs. Mary J. Moore, who assisted with editing and typing; Mr. Charles E. Miller of the Logistics Center at Gunter Air Force Base; Ms. Lula M. Barnes of the Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education, who helped with computer transfer of the statistical data; and Mr. Charles E. Ray, Mrs. Linda C. Colson, Ms. Janet E. Russell, and Mr. Herbert M. Huie, who helped with the printing at the Gunter printing plant. The combined volume was called Air Force Aerial Victory Credits: World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. It attempted to list every Air Force aerial victory credit earned during war. Unfortunately, only a few hundred copies were printed, and within a few years, there were virtually none left.

This latest edition of Air Force aerial victory credits is a corrected and expanded version of the 1988 volume, with a new section on aerial victory credits scored during the war in Southwest Asia. Occasionally, USAF aircraft have destroyed foreign aircraft outside of the periods of conflict in which aerial victory credits were officially awarded and tabulated. This book does not attempt to account for them. The War Department and, later, the Department of Defense, defined American combat service, and the aerial victory credits that appear in these pages account only for the victories achieved during these periods: April 6, 1917-November 11, 1918 (World War I); December 7, 1941-September 2, 1945 (World War II); June 27, 1950-July 27, 1953 (the Korean War); July 1, 1958-March 28, 1973 (the Vietnam War); and August 2, 1990-November 30, 1995 (the Southwest Asia War). The data is arranged alphabetically, by the name of the flyer. Other information covers his rank, serial number (before it became a social security number), unit, date, and number of credits for that date.

This book does not contain aerial victories of Navy or Marine Corps pilots unless they belonged to Air Force units at the time of their victories. The Navy and Marine Corps maintain official lists of their members' aerial victory credits. The reader must also look elsewhere for the aerial victories of American volunteers who flew in combat for other countries, such as members of the Lafayette Escadrille before American entry into World War I, or those who served in the Royal Air Force or the Chinese Air Force before the United States entered World War II.

Many persons contributed to this latest edition. I owe a debt of gratitude to my supervisors: Air Force Historical Research Agency Commander Colonel William E. Mathis and his predecessor, Colonel Richard S. Rauschkolb, Research Division Chief Dr. Frederick J. Shaw, and Dr. A. Timothy Warnock, Chief of the Research Division's Organizational History Branch. I also appreciate the computer assistance provided me by Information Systems Division Chief Mr. James M. Manderson, Mrs. Carol Arbush, Mr. Thomas G. Dean; Mrs. Sheila H. Roten; TSgt. Philip D. Newsome; Senior Airman Patrick Owen, and Mr. Richard Benno. I also want to thank the people of the Air Force History Support Office in Washington DC for helping with the final publication of the work.

Dr. Daniel L. Haulman
Montgomery, Alabama