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Major George Earl Preddy Jr. (February 5, 1919 – December 25, 1944) was a United States Army Air Forces officer during World War II and an American ace credited with 26.83 enemy air-to-air kills (a number that includes shared one-half- and one-third-victory credits),[1] ranking him as the top P-51 Mustang ace of World War II and eighth on the list of all-time highest scoring American aces.[2]

George Earl Preddy Jr.
Major George E Preddy Jr FRE 000343.jpg
Nickname(s)"Ratsy"
Born(1919-02-05)February 5, 1919
Greensboro, North Carolina
DiedDecember 25, 1944(1944-12-25) (aged 25)
Southeast of Liège, Belgium
Buried
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUS Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg United States Army Air Forces
Years of service1941 – 1944
RankUS-O4 insignia.svg Major
Unit49th Fighter Group
352nd Fighter Group
Commands held328th Fighter Squadron
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star Medal ribbon.svg Silver Star (2)
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Flying Cross (7)
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal (7)

Contents

World War IIEdit

 
Major George E "Ratsy" Preddy Jr. of the 352nd Fighter Group in the cockpit of his P-51 Mustang (HO-P, serial number 44-13321) nicknamed Cripes A' Mighty 3rd.

Preddy was assigned to the 9th Pursuit Squadron of the 49th Pursuit Group, which provided air defense against Japanese aircraft attacking Darwin, Australia. Preddy claimed two Japanese aircraft damaged over Darwin. He was hospitalized after a midair collision with another P-40, in which the other pilot, 2nd Lt. John Sauber, was killed. After his recovery, Preddy was reassigned to the 352nd Fighter Group in the European Theater, flying P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs.

Preddy was killed by "friendly fire" on the morning of December 25, 1944. As commanding officer of the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd FG, he was leading a formation of 10 P-51s. They had been patrolling for about three hours when they were directed to assist in a dogfight already in progress. Preddy destroyed two Messerschmitt Bf 109s[4] before being vectored to a lone Focke-Wulf Fw 190 strafing Allied ground forces southeast of Liege, Belgium. As the Fw 190, Preddy's P-51, and two other P-51s passed over the Allied front line at treetop height, a US Army anti-aircraft (AA) battery (believed to be part of the 430th AA Battalion, XIX Corps) fired at the Fw 190 but missed and instead hit all three P-51s. Preddy managed to release his canopy but was unable to bail out before his aircraft hit the ground at high speed and a low angle. He had a chance of surviving the crash but his wounds from .50-caliber fire were mortal.[5]

Preddy's brother William, a P-51 pilot with the 503rd Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group, was later buried alongside him at the Lorraine American Cemetery, Saint Avold, France. William died in today's Czech Republic on April 17, 1945, from wounds he sustained when he was shot down by enemy AA fire, while strafing Ceske Budejovice airfield.

Military decorationsEdit

 
Restored P-51 Mustang Cripes A Mighty 3rd

Preddy's military decorations include:

   USAAF Pilot Badge
  Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross with silver and bronze oak leaf clusters
  Purple Heart
Air Medal with one silver and one bronze oak leaf cluster
  American Defense Service Medal
  American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze service star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze service stars
  World War II Victory Medal
  Croix de Guerre, with Palm (Belgium)

   Army Presidential Unit Citation

MemorialsEdit

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2087 in Greensboro was named after George Preddy, soon after the end of World War II.

In 1968, Business Interstate 85, through Greensboro, North Carolina was given the street name Preddy Boulevard, in memory of both Preddy brothers.

There is a memorial kiosk with video, photos, and models of planes flown by the Preddy brothers at Piedmont Triad International Airport.[6]

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-20. Retrieved 2012-03-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) George Preddy Greensboro's Ace, North Carolina Museum of History, Office of Archives and History, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, 2005.
  2. ^ fran adams. "The 'Full House' Painting and History". Archived from the original on 2012-12-22. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  3. ^ "Kracker Luftwaffe Archive".
  4. ^ Bf 109G-14/AS Werk.No.784111 "Yellow 6" of Uffz. Heinrich Zinnen, killed, and Bf 109G-14 Werk.No.785758 "Yellow 9" Fw. Karl Heinz Schröder, wounded[3]
  5. ^ HistoryNet, 2006, "George Preddy: Top-Scoring World War II Mustang Ace". Access date: December 19, 2010.
  6. ^ "P is for Preddy Brothers, George and William". Greensboro Daily. Retrieved 26 July 2012.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit