Alexander, Richard Lear, Capt

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1055-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1945-1947, 60th Fighter Squadron - Fighting Crows
Service Years
1940 - 1948

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Alexander, Richard Lear, Capt.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Grant Park, Illinois
Last Address
Piper City, Illinois

Date of Passing
Apr 19, 1993
Location of Interment
Brendon Cemetery - Piper City, Illinois
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Air Ace

 Additional Information

Last Known Activity

Richard Lear Alexander was born in Grant Park, Illinois on July 22, 1914. Not much has been discovered concerning his early education, but in October, 1940, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.

He took pilot training and was certified as a pilot, given his wings, and commissioned as Lieutenant by September 1941. He went to England and joined the newly-formed RAF 133 Squadron, known as "The Eagle Squadron" because of the number of Americans in it. He flew a Supermarine Spitfire from RAF base Kingscliffe on bomber escort, fighter sweep, and home defense missions, receiving credit for one aerial victory and one "probable."

On September 23, 1942, Alexander transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces and was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group. In January 1943, he was posted briefly to the 109th Observation Squadron, a reconnaissance unit.

April 1943 saw him assigned to the 2nd Fighter Squadron of the 52nd Fighter Group, flying P-39s. He led a flight of P-39s from England to North Africa, encountering trouble on the way. Weather and bad engines forced the unit down in Spain where they were interned for two months. Leaving Spain, the unit finally reported to Algeria in North Africa. Because of the many Americans still within the unit that had transferred, it was humorously nicknamed "The American Beagle Squadron." Alexander had somewhere picked up the personal nickname of "Dixie." This unit of the 52nd Fighter Group flew Spitfires and P-39s on strike and escort missions over North Africa, changing to P-51 aircraft in early 1944. With this, and extending strikes into Germany, Alexander was credited with an additional four victories. In November 1943, the 52nd Fighter Group moved to Piagiolino, Italy.

In May, 1944, he was shot down on a long range mission, and captured by the Germans, He was held as a POW in the Stalag Luft III, the infamous German POW camp featured in the film "The Great Escape." He was liberated at war's end in May of 1945.

He remained with the USAAF in Germany on Occupation duty with the 60th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Wing. In 1947, he lost his right arm in an accident (type unspecified) in 1947 and was medically retired in 1948.
USSAF Aircraft inventory records


Other Comments:

When flying for the RAF, Alexander utilized two Spitfires, both named "Chappie." Tail number BL722 coded MD-B and tail number BL723 coded MD-M.

When he transitioned into P-51s, he was assigned P-51B #43-24816, named "Chappie" and "Dixie MK X. This was the aircraft in which he was shot down. Missing Air Crew Report 5636 applies.

In addition to the U.S. awards and decorations, Captain Richard L. Alexander was entitled to wear ribbons denoting the award of Canadian Service Volunteer Service Medal, 1939-1945 Star (British),  the Mentioned in Despatches Medal (British) and another which has not been identified to date.

Service photo source:

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  1942-1943, AAF MOS 1055, 4th Fighter Group

Second Lieutenant
From Month/Year
September / 1942
To Month/Year
January / 1943
4th Fighter Group Unit Page
Second Lieutenant
AAF MOS 1055-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter
RAF Debden, Essex, England
Not Specified
 4th Fighter Group Details

4th Fighter Group

Howard Hively


Maj. Howard D "Deacon" Hively, Athens OH. 334th Fighter Squadron. P-47C 41-6576 QP-J "The Deacon". The Deacon is seen here with Duke, the German Sheppard normally seen hanging around with Kid Hofer. The P-47 in shot appears to be a later model currently unknown as assigned to Maj. Hively or has possibly had its cowling gills modified.

August 22, 1942 - The 4th Fighter Group is constituted by the U.S. Army Air Force. It encompasses the three RAF Eagle Squadrons made of American pilots. No. 71 Eagle Squadron becomes the 334th Fighter Squadron, No. 121 Eagle Squadron becomes the 335th Fighter Squadron and No. 133 Eagle Squadron becomes the 336th Fighter Squadron. Operational command will remain with the British until the end of the year and Wing Commander Raymond Miles B. Duke-Woolley would serve as Group (Wing) Commanding Officer.


September 21, 1942 - The 4th has its first casualty. While flying a shipping reconaissance mission from Flushing to Haamstede, Netherlands, John T. Slater was killed while crossing Overflakkee.


September 26, 1942 - In the only 4th mission in which these aircraft were used, twelve Spitfire IX's of the 336th took off to support B-17s bombing Morlaix, France, then sweep the area. In a combination of navigational error, weather, German fighters, and low fuel, 11 of the Spits were forced down on the Brest Peninsula. Four pilots were killed, six taken prisoner and one, Robert E. Smith, managed to evade back to England. One of the POWs, Edward G. Brettell, was later executed by the Germans for his part in the Great Escape of 76 POWs from Stalag Luft III. He had served as the escape map maker. There was also 1 abort that day: Don Gentile had engine trouble and returned to base.

Constituted as 4th Fighter Group on 22 Aug 1942. Activated in England on 12 Sep 1942. Former members of RAF Eagle Squadrons formed the nucleus of the group, which served in combat from Oct 1942 to Apr 1945 and destroyed more enemy planes in the air and on the ground than any other fighter group of Eighth AF. Operated first with Spitfires but changed to P-47's in Mar 1943 and to P-51's in Apr 1944. On numerous occasions escorted bombers that attacked factories, submarine pens, V-weapon sites, and other targets in France, the Low Countries, or Germany. Went out sometimes with a small force of bombers to draw up the enemy's fighters so they could be destroyed in aerial combat. At other times attacked the enemy's air power by strafing and dive-bombing airfields. Also hit troops, supply depots, roads, bridges, rail lines, and trains. Participated in the intensive campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. Received a DUC for aggressiveness in seeking out and destroying enemy aircraft and in attacking enemy air bases, 5 Mar-24 Apr 1944. Flew interdictory and counter-air missions during the invasion of Normandy in Jun 1944. Supported the airborne invasion of Holland in Sep. Participated in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Covered the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Moved to the US in Nov. Inactivated on 10 Nov 1945.

Activated on 9 Sep 1946. Equipped with P-80's. Converted to F-86 aircraft in 1949. Redesignated 4th Fighter-Interceptor Group in Jan 1950. Moved to Japan, Nov-Dec 1950, for duty with Far East Air Forces in the Korean War. Began operations from Japan on 15 Dec 1950 and moved to Korea in Mar 1951. Escorted bombers, made fighter sweeps, engaged in interdiction of the enemy's lines of communications, flew armed reconnaissance sorties, conducted counter-air patrols, served as an air defense organization, and provided close support for ground forces. One member of the group, Maj George A Davis Jr, commander of the 334th squadron, was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on 10 Feb 1952 when, leading a flight of two F-86's, Davis spotted twelve enemy planes (MiG's), attacked, and destroyed three before his plane crashed in the mountains. The group returned to Japan in the fall of 1954. Redesignated 4th Fighter-Bomber Group in Mar 1955.


334th: 1942-1945; 1946-.
335th: 1942-1945; 1946-.
336th: 1942-1945; 1946-.


Bushey Hall, England, 12 Sep 1942
Debden, England, Sep 1942
Steeple Morden, England, Jul-Nov 1945
Camp Kilmer, NJ, c. 10 Nov 1945.
Selfridge Field, Mich, 9 Sep 1946
Andrews Field, Md, Mar 1947
Langley AFB, Va, c. 30 Apr 1949
New Castle County Aprt, Del, Aug-Nov 1950
Johnson AB, Japan, Dec 1950
Suwon, Korea, Mar 1951
Kimpo, Korea, Aug 1951
Chitose, Japan, c. 1 Nov 1954-.


Col Edward W Anderson, Sep 1942
Col Chesley G Peterson, Aug 1943
Col Donald M Blakeslee, 1 Jan 1944
Lt Col Claiborne H Kinnard Jr, Nov 1944
Lt Col Harry Dayhuff, 7 Dec 1944
Col Everett W Stewart, 21 Feb 1945-unkn.
Col Ernest H Beverly, Sep 1946
Lt Col Benjamin S Preston Jr, Aug 1948
Col Albert L Evans Jr, Jun 1949
Col John C Meyer, c. 1 Sep 1950
Lt Col Glenn T Eagleston, May 1951
Col Benjamin S Preston Jr, Jul 1951
Col Walker M Mahurin, 18 Mar 1952
Lt Col Ralph G Kuhn, 14 May 1952
Col Royal N Baker, 1 Jun 1952
Col Thomas D DeJarnette, 18 Mar 1953
Col Henry S Tyler Jr, c. 28 Dec 1953
Lt Col Dean W Dutrack, c. 19 Jul 1954
Col William D Gilchrist, c. 9 Aug 1954
Col George I Ruddell, c. 4 May 1955-.


World War II: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe. Korean War: CCF Intervention; 1st UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1953.


Distinguished Unit Citations: France, 5 Mar-24 Apr 1944; Korea, 22 Apr-8 Jul 1951; Korea, 9 Jul-27 Nov 1951. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations: 1 Nov 1951-30 Sep 1952; 1 Oct 1952-31 Mar 1953.

"Ridge Runner III" flown by Maj. Pierce W. McKennon, 335th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force out of Debden, England:

Lt. Calvin H Beason, Anderson IN. 334th Fighter Squadron. P-51D 44-14518 QP-P "NAD" Named after his wife Nadaline.

Lt. Woodrow "Woody" F Sooman, Republic WA. 336th Fighter Squadron. P-47C 41-6192 VF-D "Lollapoluza". Left: S/Sgt Glesner Weckbacher c.c. Right: S/Sgt John Wilson a.c.c.The 200 gallon drop tank was the first type used by the Group, complete with statement concerning Herr Hitler's suspected ancestry.

The famous Disney fighting Eagle, affectionately known as the "Boxing Chicken" is well represented along with the Eagle Squadron patch.

Capt. Donald S Gentile, Piqua, OH. 336th Fighter Squadron. P-51B 431-6913 VF-T "Shangri-La"

Lt. Frank E Speer. Albertis, PA. 334th FS. P-51B 43-6957 QP-M "Turnip Termite".

Capt. Vernon A Boehle, Indianapolis, IN. 334th Fighter Squadron, ex 71 "Eagle" Squadron. P-47C 41-6400 QP-O "Indianapolis". Later the word "Indiana" was added under the name. This is the A/C that lost its engine on 9 September 1943 causing Vern to ditch into the Channel 45 miles south of Beachy Head. He spent 48 hours in his dinghy before being rescued.

Capt. Ted E Lines, Mesa, AZ. 335th Fighter Squadron. P-51D 44-13555 WD-D "Thunderbird". This is the first of two D models assigned to Capt. Lines who was "A" Flight Commander.

Capt. Spiros N "Steve" "The Greek" Pisanos, Plainfield, NJ. 334th Fighter Squadron, ex 71 "Eagle" Squadron. P-47D 42-7945 QP-D "Miss Plainfield".







Combat - Fighter Units
Parent Unit
Fighter Units
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Last Updated: Dec 10, 2019
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28 Members Also There at Same Time
4th Fighter Group

Daley, William James, Lt Col, (1942-1944) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Major
Goodson, James Alexander, Lt Col, (1942-1959) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Major
Gover, Leroy, Col, (1941-1962) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Major
Hively, Howard Davis, Maj, (1942-1950) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Major
McColpin, Carroll Warren, Maj Gen, (1942-1968) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Major
McKennon, Pierce Winningham, Maj, (1942-1947) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Major
Peterson, Chesley Gordon, Maj Gen, (1938-1970) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Major
Sobanski, Winslow Michael, Maj, (1942-1944) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Major
Beeson, Duane Willard, Lt Col, (1942-1947) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Captain
France, Victor James, Capt, (1942-1944) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Captain
Lang, Joseph Leo, Capt, (1941-1944) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Captain
McGrattan, Bernard Louis, Capt, (1943-1944) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Captain
Megura, Nicholas, Lt Col, (1941-1945) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Captain
Meierhoff, Cecil Edward, Capt, (1942-1945) A23 AAF MOS 1055 First Lieutenant
Pisanos, Steve Nicolas, Col, (1942-1973) A23 AAF MOS 1055 First Lieutenant
Wilkinson, James Willard, Capt, (1942-1944) A23 AAF MOS 1055 First Lieutenant
Cox, William Anson, FltOff, (1942-1944) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Flight Officer
Anderson, Edward Wharton, Maj Gen, (1928-1958) A23 AAF MOS 1065 Colonel
Henry, Lloyd F., 2nd Lt, (1942-1944) A33 AAF MOS 770 Second Lieutenant
Moon, Ivan R., 1st Lt, (1942-1943) A33 AAF MOS 770 Second Lieutenant
Gallion, Frank D., FltOff, (1941-1943) A33 AAF MOS 770 Flight Officer
Blakeslee, Donald James Matthew, Col, (1938-1965) Colonel
Peterson, Chesley Gordon, Maj Gen, (1938-1970) Colonel
Gentile, Salvatore Dominic, Maj, (1942-1951) Major
Godfrey, John Trevor, Maj, (1943-1953) Captain
Biel, Hipolitus Thomas, 1st Lt, (1942-1944) First Lieutenant
Garrison, Vermont, Col, (1943-1973) First Lieutenant
Hofer, Ralph Kidd, 1st Lt, (1943-1944) First Lieutenant
Pompi, Angeo, SSgt, (1942-1946) Staff Sergeant

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