Bettinger, Stephen L., Col

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Primary Unit
1972-1973, 25th Air Division
Service Years
1942 - 1973
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

76 kb

Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Stephen Willcox-Deceased to remember Bettinger, Stephen L., Col.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Newark, New Jersey
Last Address
Kirkland, Washington

Date of Passing
Dec 04, 2010
Location of Interment
Sunset Hills Memorial Cemetery - Bellevue, Washington
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Air Force Commander Air Force Retired

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Air Force Memorial (AFM)
  2016, Air Force Memorial (AFM) - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Colonel Stephen L. Bettinger retired from the United States Air Force in January of 1973. In his retirement at Kirkland, Washington he worked as a Probation Counselor, a Eucharistic Minister for Holy Family Church of Kirkland and worked in the rehabilitation of alcoholics and drug addicts. He was 86 years old at the time of his passing. He is buried at the Sunset Hills Memorial Cemetery, Bellevue, Washington. Source:
Other Comments:
Colonel Stephen L. Bettinger was born in Newark, New Jersey. He enlisted in the USAAF in June of 1942. After flight training he received his wings and 2nd Lt. Commission on 3 November 1943. During World War II he shot down one ME-109 and during the Korean War he became a Jet Ace by downing his fifth MiG-15; and within minutes he was shot down himself and was a prisoner of the Chinese until repatriated at the end of the war.

"20 July 1953: During a raid deep into Manchuria, and after shooting down two Chinese MiGs, Majors Thomas M. Sellers and Stephen L. Bettinger (the second ace with five kills) tried to catch by surprise two Soviet MiG-15s that were landing in Dapu. The Soviet fliers skillfully forced the Americans to overshoot, reversed direction and shot both down: Captain Boris N. Siskov forced Bettinger to bail out and his wingman 1st Lieutenant Vladimir I. Klimov killed Major Sellers. This was Siskov's fifth victory, making him the last ace of the Korean War. Those were also the last Sabres downed by Soviet fliers in the war." Source:

Note: The award dates of the medals on the right panel are not accurate, but do reflect most of the medals he received based on Internet sources. After 31 years of service he would have received additonal medals as well, for example he received the Korean Chung Moo Medal with a Gold Star.

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Aviator (Command)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Army Reserve (USAR)United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)57th Fighter Group12th Air Force
66th Fighter Squadron  - Exterminators127th Wing58th Fighter Squadron  - Gorillas33rd Fighter Group
336th Fighter Squadron  - RocketeersPrisoner Of War (POW)21st Fighter-Day Squadron413th Fighter Group
8th Fighter Squadron  - Black Sheep49th Tactical Fighter WingSupport Units25th Air Division
  1942-1942, US Army Reserve (USAR)
  1943-1943, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1943-1944, 57th Fighter Group
  1943-1944, 12th Air Force
  1944-1944, 66th Fighter Squadron - Exterminators
  1945-1946, 127th Wing
  1947-1950, 58th Fighter Squadron - Gorillas
  1947-1950, 33rd Fighter Group
  1950-1952, 33rd Fighter Group
  1952-1953, 336th Fighter Squadron - Rocketeers
  1953-1953, Prisoner Of War (POW)
  1954-1954, 21st Fighter-Day Squadron
  1954-1954, 413th Fighter Group
  1954-1958, 21st Fighter-Day Squadron
  1958-1958, 8th Fighter Squadron - Black Sheep
  1958-1958, 49th Tactical Fighter Wing
  1962-1968, 4500th Support Squadron
  1972-1973, 25th Air Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
  1952-1953 Korean War/Third Korean Winter (1952-53)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
P-40 Warhawk/Kittyhawk  P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)  F-84 Thunderjet  P-51/F-51 Mustang  
F-86 Sabre  F-100 Super Sabre  F-111 Aardvark  
  1942-1945, P-40 Warhawk/Kittyhawk
  1943-1945, P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)
  1947-1950, F-84 Thunderjet
  1947-1950, P-51/F-51 Mustang
  1950-1953, F-86 Sabre
  1954-1958, F-100 Super Sabre
  1962-1968, F-111 Aardvark
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