Major George Preddy, The Highest Scoring Mustang Ace

From Wikipedia –  Preddy initially served in the Southwest Pacific Theater, flying P-40s with the 9th Pursuit Squadron, 49th Pursuit Group, which provided air defense against Japanese aircraft attacking Darwin, Australia.  Preddy claimed two Japanese aircraft damaged over Darwin. He was hospitalized after a collision with another P-40.  After his recovery, Preddy was reassigned to the 352nd Fighter Group in the European Theater, flying P-51s.  The group flew out of RAF Bodney, England and Asch Airfield, Belgium. On August 6, 1944, Preddy claimed six German Luftwaffe fighters in a single sortie.

Preddy was killed by “friendly fire” on the morning of December 25, 1944.  As commanding officer of the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd FG, he was leading a formation of 10 P-51 Mustangs.  They had been patrolling for about three hours, when they were directed to assist in a dogfight already in progress.  Preddy destroyed two Messerschmitt Bf 109s, (the Bf 109G-14/AS Werk.No. 784111 “Yellow 6” of Uffz. Heinrich Zinnen, Killed and Bf 109G-14 Werk.No.785758 “Yellow 9” Fw. Karl Heinz Schröder, wounded) before being vectored to a lone Focke-Wulf Fw 190, strafing Allied ground forces southeast of Liege, Belgium. As the Fw 190, Preddy, and two other Mustangs passed over the Allied front line at tree-top height, a US Army anti-aircraft (AA) battery (believed to be part of the 430th AA Battalion, XIX Corps), fired at the FW-190 but missed and instead hit all three P-51’s. Preddy managed to release his canopy but was unable to bail out before the aircraft hit the ground at high speed and a low angle. He had a chance of surviving the crash but his wounds from .50 calibre fire were mortal.

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