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World War II
  • 4 FW's greatest heroes: McKennon, Green – The rescue

    The history of the 4th Fighter Wing includes many stories of great wingmen, including the incomparable team of Don Gentile and John Godfrey in World War II. By adjusting their tactics and working closely together in the air combat duels over Europe, they became two of the highest scoring American aces of the Second World War. But an event occurred in March 1945 in which a wingman risked court-martial, imprisonment and even death to rescue the pilot he was assigned to cover. Remarkably, that wingman had almost been thrown out of the 4th Fighter Group multiple times by the very same pilot he would ultimately save. Pierce McKennon displayed considerable musical talent as a young man. His mother wanted him to be a classical concert pianist. He actually received a music scholarship to the University of Arkansas. But despite his ability to play the piano, McKennon wanted to be a fighter pilot.
  • William R. Dunn – The First American Ace of World War II

    Editor's Note: This article is part of a series celebrating the 4th Fighter Wing's 75th Anniversary and the great heroes associated with the unit. The 4th Fighter Wing traces its origin to the American volunteers who flew in the Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons prior to American entry in World War II. In September 1942 the men of the RAF Eagle Squadrons became the American 4th Fighter Group. We begin our series of articles celebrating the 75th anniversary of the 4th Fighter Wing with the exploits of one of our heroes of the Eagle Squadrons. Many individuals who dreamed of becoming fighter pilots had to overcome great odds in order to do so. William “Poppy” Dunn, the first American ace of WWII, had to overcome more obstacles than almost anyone in order to achieve his dream of becoming a fighter pilot.