Skip to comments.WWII fighter pilot who flew THROUGH the Eiffel Tower to take down a German plane dies in Virginia
Posted on 01/04/2014 9:03:39 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
A World War II fighter pilot who gained fame for dramatically flying beneath the Eiffel Tower's arches to take down a German aircraft has died aged 92. William Overstreet Jr. died on Sunday at a hospital in Roanoke, Virginia, according to his obituary, but there was no indication of the cause of his death.
Overstreet's famously flew his P-51C 'Berlin Express' beneath the Eiffel Tower in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, which has been credited with lifting the spirits of French Resistance troops on the ground.
For his valiant service, the French ambassador to the United States presented Overstreet with France's Legion of Honor at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford in 2009.
Before the ceremony, Overstreet had previously said that, if he lived long enough to receive the Legion of Honor, he would be accepting it in memory of his fallen brothers.
In particular, he wanted to pay tribute to a friend, Eddy Simpson, who died fighting the Nazis on the ground so his comrades, including Overstreet, could escape.
After the award was pinned to his lapel, Overstreet said: 'If I said, "Thank you," it wouldnt be enough,' before adding: 'What more than "thank you" do you need?'
Overstreet was also awarded hundreds of other medals for his service in the 357th squadron of the U.S. Army Air Forces, his obituary said.
He was born in Clifton Forge, Virginia in 1921 and after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Air Corps as a fighter pilot.
By February 1942, he was a private and sent to California for flight training; here, his instructors prepared him for the unexpected mid-flight by cutting the engine as he landed.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Action: An artist's depiction of the dramatic moment shows Overstreet in his P51 Mustang chasing an ME 109 under the Eiffel Tower in Spring 1944. He was able to shoot the plane down
not sure if they make ‘em like that anymore. RIP
Are you kidding me? I had never heard of this one. Love it!
Neither had I. That’s why I posted it!
"The plane ended its six-minute flight at 3:31 pm with an unpowered ditching while heading south at about 130 knots (150 mph; 240 km/h) in the middle of the North River section of the Hudson River roughly abeam West 50th Street (near the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum) in Manhattan and Port Imperial in Weehawken, New Jersey. Sullenberger said in an interview on CBS television that his training prompted him to choose a ditching location near operating boats so as to maximize the chance of rescue. The location was near three boat terminals: two used by ferry operator NY Waterway on either side of the Hudson River and a third used by tour boat operator Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. The ditching location was approximately 40.769498°N 74.004636°W. After coming to a stop in the river, the plane began drifting southward with the current.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Board Member Kitty Higgins, the principal spokesperson for the on-scene investigation, said at a press conference the day after the accident that it "has to go down [as] the most successful ditching in aviation history." "These people knew what they were supposed to do and they did it and as a result, no lives were lost."
point taken, but I’m speaking more about our younger generation.
Great story, thanks
Good discussion with some additional pics here:
WWII veteran William Overstreet Jr. celebrated for flight in France (under Eiffel Tower in dogfight)
Also detailed article of WWII experiences here:
WWII Veteran Aviator Bill Overstreet and His P-51 Mustang, Berlin Express
Thanks. What an awesome story. Regardless of what Barry and his crowd would have us believe, Americans are a special people.
Only old folks, though, according to the replies on this thread.
The gentleman that just died was from Clifton Forge, VA, a small rural town.
Historical moment, ping!
Thank you for the ping.
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