Last Known Activity
Jack A. Bade was born on October 9, 1920, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was the only child of Charles and Gladys Bade. He moved to Elk River, Minnesota when his father accepted a job with a bank there.
He attended Elk River High School where he played both football and basketball. He graduated in 1938 and attended the University of Minnesota for one and one-half years before accepting employment with Minneapolis Honeywell.
He enlisted in January 1942 and volunteered for the Aviation Cadet program. He completed the course and graduated on June 25, 1942 at Luke Field, Arizona. He received both his pilots wings and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was then assigned to advanced combat training in the P-40 aircraft.
In December 1942, he was assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron of the 18th Fighter Group, flying out of Munda in the Solomon Islands. He flew 85 missions, a total of 210 combat hours against the Japanese forces. During this time, he was credited with 5 aerial victories plus one probable.
But his biggest achievement came on February 13, 1943. While escorting a flight of Navy bombers, his unit was attacked by a large force of enemy aircraft. In the ensuing fight, Bade's aircraft was severely damaged, rendering his guns useless. He was severely wounded from a head wound, but saw the Navy bombers under attack by a large force of enemy fighters. He dove straight into the melee, penetrating the enemy formation although his guns were jammed and succeeded in scattering the attackers, and allowing the Navy bombers to escape. For this action, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross as well as the Purple Heart.
The exploits of Captain Bade (later Major) were used in comic strips and books such as "True Comics" and "Heroic Comics." He also appeared in a cameo role in the 1943 movie "Thunderbirds." In 1956, he appeared in an ad for Camel cigarettes, and in 1962, he was featured in an ad for Chase Manhattan Bank.
In late 1943, Bade was assigned by the Air Corps to Republic Aviation where he acted as chief inspector on the emerging P-47 program. After being discharged in 1946, he returned to Republic and eventually became a test pilot, serving in many on-going test programs. Unfortunately, he was killed on May 2, 1963 in a mid-air collision with test pilot Don Seaver, both flying F-105 aircraft at Mach 2, over the Catskill Mountains in New York.
Jack A. Bade is buried in Long Island National Cemetery in Farmington, New York.
Records indicate that Jack Bade flew the same P-40N in combat the entire tour. As with many units in the Southwest Pacific, the aircraft bore no tail numbers but only the aircraft codes assigned. Bade's P-40 was known and referred to as "White 111," and the entire rudder plane was painted white.
Tradition allowed the crew chief of any aircraft to decorate the starboard side of the aircraft. SSgt Jim Cooley used Bade's "White 111" to display the 14 Japanese victories from other aircraft he crewed and the words "Reckless Prostitute". The port side of the aircraft bore the indicator "111" as well as the words "Destitute Prostitute."
Distinguished Service Cross Citation
Distinguished Service Cross Awarded for actions during the World War II
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Second Lieutenant (Air Corps) Jack A. Bade, United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-40 Fighter Airplane in the 44th Fighter Squadron, 18th Fighter Group, THIRTEENTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on 13 February 1943, in the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations.
While leading part of a fighter sweep preceding a bombing raid on hostile shipping in the Shortland-Kahili area, First Lieutenant Bade fought back desperately against intercepting Zeros which struck from behind and below. When his crippled wingman fell off in a smoking dive, he followed him down until his own plane was tailed by four Japanese fighters whose disintegrating fire riddled his wings and fuselage and jammed his guns. Immediately afterward, although bleeding profusely from a deep head wound, he flew to the defense of several of our bombers which had been stripped of fighter cover and were being attacked by a swarm of Zeros.
Undeterred by complete lack of fire power and suffering great pain, he put his damaged plane through a series of headlong passes with such formidable aggressiveness that the Japanese airmen broke off their fight and fled. His heroic perseverance and superb flying skill were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific Area, General Orders No. 89 (1943)
Action Date: 13-Feb-43
Service: Army Air Forces
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Company: 44th Fighter Squadron
Regiment: 18th Fighter Group
Division: 13th Air Force