Bong, Richard Ira, Maj

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1056-Pilot, Two-Engine Fighter
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1944-1945, AAF MOS 1056, 5th Air Force
Service Years
1940 - 1945
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SMSgt James E. Franklin to remember Bong, Richard Ira, Maj.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
North Hollywood, CA

Date of Passing
Aug 06, 1945
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
National Aviation Hall of FameIn the Line of Duty
  1986, National Aviation Hall of Fame
  2014, In the Line of Duty

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Medal of Honor

Awarded for actions during the World War II The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Major (Air Corps) Richard Ira Bong, United States Army Air Forces, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 49th Fighter Group, V Fighter Command, Fifth Air Force, in action in the Southwest Pacific area from 10 October to 15 November 1944.

Though assigned to duty as gunnery instructor and neither required nor expected to perform combat duty, Major Bong voluntarily and at his own urgent request engaged in repeated combat missions, including unusually hazardous sorties over Balikpapan, Borneo, and in the Leyte area of the Philippines. His aggressiveness and daring resulted in his shooting down eight enemy airplanes during this period.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 90, December 8, 1944
Action Date: October 10 - November 15, 1944
Service: Army Air Forces
Rank: Major
Regiment: 49th Fighter Group, V Fighter Command
Division: 5th Air Force.

The Death of Major Richard I. Bong

In California he reported to Lieutenant Colonel C. J. Langmack, head of the Air Force Department at Lockheed and in charge of all flying, experimental testing and acceptance of Army Air Forces aircraft there.  From July 7th to August 6th he made 11 test flights and logged over 4 hours flight time in the Shooting Star.

Dick Bong was intrigued by the new jet fighter and enthusiastic about his assignment. On August 6, 1945 (the day the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima) Dick Bong was killed when the P-80 he was testing stalled on takeoff and he bailed out at low altitude. His body, partially wrapped in the shrouds of his parachute, was found 100 feet from the plane's jet engine.

Other Comments:

Major Richard Bong is still the US Army Air Forces/US Air Forces Ace of Aces with 40 Japanese aircraft to his credit. He shot down most of these aircraft flying a Lockheed P-38 Lightning in the South Pacific.

He was interred in Poplar Cemetery,  Poplar, Douglas County,  Wisconsin.

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 Ribbon Bar

Pilot Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
49th Fighter Squadron14th Fighter Group84th Fighter Squadron78th Fighter Group
39th Fighter Squadron  - Cobra In The Clouds9th Fighter Squadron  - Flying Knights35th Fighter Group49th Fighter Group
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)5th Air Force
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 1051, 49th Fighter Squadron
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 1051, 14th Fighter Group
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 1051, 84th Fighter Squadron
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 1051, 78th Fighter Group
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 1056, 39th Fighter Squadron - Cobra In The Clouds
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 1056, 9th Fighter Squadron - Flying Knights
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 1056, 35th Fighter Group
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 1056, 49th Fighter Group
  1944-1944, AAF MOS 1056, V Fighter Command
  1944-1945, AAF MOS 1056, 5th Air Force
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater
  1943-1943 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)
  1944-1944 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Air Offensive Campaign Japan (1942-45)
  1945-1945 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)
 Colleges Attended 
  1938-1941, Superior State Teachers College
 My Aircraft/Missiles
AT-6 Texan  P-38 Lightning (Forked Tail Devil)  F-80/P-80 Shooting Star  
  1941-1942, AT-6 Texan
  1942-1945, P-38 Lightning (Forked Tail Devil)
  1945-1945, F-80/P-80 Shooting Star
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