Alexander, Richard Lear, Capt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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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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 1940-1943, Supermarine Spitfire
From Year
To Year
Personal Memories
Not Specified
 Supermarine Spitfire Details

Aircraft/Missile Information
Specifications (Spitfire Mk Vb)
Replica Mk VB on display in 2009

Data from The Great Book of Fighters[154] and Jane�??s Fighting Aircraft of World War II[155]

General characteristics

* Crew: one pilot
* Length: 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m)
* Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
* Height: 11 ft 5 in (3.86 m)
* Wing area: 242.1 ft² (22.48 m²)
* Airfoil: NACA 2209.4(tip)
* Empty weight: 5,090 lb (2,309 kg)
* Loaded weight: 6,622 lb (3,000 kg)
* Max takeoff weight: 6,770 lb (3,071 kg)
* Powerplant: 1�? Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 supercharged V12 engine, 1,470 hp at 9,250 ft (1,096 kW at 2,820 m)


* Maximum speed: 378 mph, (330 kn, 605 km/h)
* Combat radius: 410 nmi (470 mi, 760 km)
* Ferry range: 991 nmi (1,140 mi, 1,840 km)
* Service ceiling: 35,000 ft (11,300 m)
* Rate of climb: 2,665 ft/min (13.5 m/s)
* Wing loading: 24.56 lb/ft² (119.91 kg/m²)
* Power/mass: 0.22 hp/lb (0.36 kW/kg)


* Guns: Mk I, Mk II, Mk VA
o (VA) 8 �? .303in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns, 350 rpg

o (VB on) 2 �? 20 mm (0.787-in) Hispano Mk II cannon, 60 rpg (drum magazine); (VC) 120 rpg (belt loaded, box magazine)
o 4 �? 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns, 350 rpg
* Bombs:
o 2 �? 250 lb (113 kg) bombs

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Last Updated: Jun 20, 2010
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  34 Also There at This Aircraft:
  • Gover, Leroy, Col, (1941-1962)
  • Hoover, Robert Anderson, 1st Lt, (1940-1949)
  • Payne, Carl Wilson, Col, (1941-1956)
  • Pisanos, Steve Nicolas, Col, (1942-1973)
  • Wickstrom, Richard
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