Skip to comments.WWII veteran William Overstreet Jr. celebrated for flight in France (under Eiffel Tower in dogfight)
Posted on 01/02/2014 11:36:14 AM PST by Perseverando
Roanoke lost one of its most decorated World War II veterans last weekend. Former fighter pilot William Overstreet Jr., famous for flying beneath the arches of the Eiffel Tower while chasing a German aircraft during the war, died Sunday afternoon. He was 92.
Overstreet was awarded hundreds of medals for his service in the 357th squadron of the U.S. Army Air Forces, according to his obituary for Oakeys Funeral Home. One of his greatest honors was receiving Frances Legion of Honor by the French ambassador to the U.S. in 2009 at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.
At the ceremony, the French ambassador said Overstreet led some of the most heroic actions that we have ever heard of during the liberation of France in the Second World War.
Overstreets most famous flight came while in solo pursuit of a German Messerschmitt Bf 109G flying into Nazi-occupied Paris. He maneuvered his plane beneath the arches of the Eiffel Tower, re-igniting the spirit of the French Resistance troops on the ground.
One of those French Resistance fighters was the father of Bernard Marie. A French dignitary who has hosted D-Day events every year since 1984, Marie said he met Overstreet in 1994. He knew Overstreet was well-known for his flight underneath the Eiffel Tower but didnt understand the true importance of Overstreets flight until he spoke with his father.
(Excerpt) Read more at roanoke.com ...
An obvious error in the article: "Overstreet was awarded hundreds of medals for his service in the 357th squadron..." (I don't think so.)
On behalf of myself and my fellow Freepers, "We thank you for your service and we salute you!"
What a man!
Under the E-Tower.
Now, THAT’s what I’m talking about.
Rest in peace, and our thanks to you.
Look at those eyes. Both photos. The man was a bullfighter.
I bet this WW II 92 yr old could beat the PJ’s off of Obama’s pajama boy wearing freak!....too bad he’s gone - but he’s with comrades and friends now and doesn’t have to watch the country he fought so hard for die in decades to come!
I think he and Yeager were in the air together back in the day. RIP.
A seriously Hot Rock. Well done, sir.
Yep! While chasing a ME-109.
I wonder if he was flying a P-51? Anybody know what the 357th was flying?
I believe I have seen his flight under the Eiffel Tower reenacted in a WWII movie, if not mistaken.
“I wonder if he was flying a P-51? Anybody know what the 357th was flying? “
They went from Jugs to P-51s in April ‘44 so depends on the date.
Bill was actually the second to fly under the arches. The German he was chasing with his P-51C did it first.
WWII Veteran Aviator Bill Overstreet and His P-51 Mustang, Berlin Express
JULY 31, 2013
According to Wiki (I know, not much better) the 357th Squadron flew Bolts.
I think I see your problem.
See Post #11
You are very welcome. I wish I could take credit for it — I saw it first on a t-shirt of another Army dad and was moved nearly to tears.
May God bless your son and please thank him for his service for me.
The artist says this
“Bill Overstreet chases an ME109 right under the Eiffel Tower! - Spring of 1944
Signed by Bill Overstreet - 357th Fighter Group - Legion of Honor Recipient”
I'm sure Bill Overstreet would not have signed a print with the wrong aircraft shown.
Hope this link works -
Good grief, he survived some really close calls. Apparently he was blessed with an abundance of luck, skill and God's protection. What an aviator!!
Good point. But he was the only one to do it and survive, thanks to shooting the 1st guy down.
Geez, and I thought that flying down the Grand Canyon or under the Golden Gate Bridge was kewl! Truly the greatest generation. They inspired me to fly. Those were the days. Those were the guys. Sadly, mostly all gone now.
I’m not posting it because it may be copyrighted, but there is a great painting of the Eiffel Tower incident at the link.
Very good point. Rather the point of the whole event.
In my town they had a bridge that connected the upper part of town to the valley below. The bridge was 150 feet high and had a 40 wide road passing underneath.
One of our towns WW2 P 51 pilots got drunk and was bored so he flew his little Cessna through the gap where the road was and underneath the bridge.
Hurrah for our Ww2 guys
Beautiful score also
Unfortunately in today’s military if he did something like that he’d be grounded and sent for retraining and loss of rank.
Sure, nice story for the brass. Fighter pilots don't need a reason to do stunts like that, other than just animal spirits.
FAA rules about flying over crowds is you must be more than 1500ft above. What if one of those jets flamed out while passing over or somehow malfunctioned and slammed into the stadium. Was the flight authorized by the Navy or just done on a whim? Just saying.
Wow...a very rare old bold pilot.
Sad to see him leave us.
Sacre bleu! ‘Wonder if he could’ve banked 90° without a turn and made it through the section above.
RIP William Overstreet Jr.
There is youtube video of an airshow in the 50s and airforce f-100 t birds flew lower than the control tower in a high speed pass.One of the most awesome things I have ever seen.Check it out.
The guy high speed low dreg.RIP Sir.What a rush that had to have been.That would be real hard to top in the rest of your life.
Thanks for the ping! May he rest in peace.
* corrected post with link activated *
“Bill stayed on his tail braving the intense enemy flak. His desperation undoubtedly growing, the German pilot aimed his plane at the Eiffel Tower and in a surprising maneuver, flew beneath it. Undeterred, Bill followed right behind him, scoring several more hits in the process. The German plane crashed and Bill escaped the heavy flak around Paris by flying low and full throttle over the river until he had cleared the citys heavy anti-aircraft batteries.”
Bold indeed. What a fighter! You’re mine kraut!
Uh the 357th would have been a US ARMY Air Force unit. (todays zoomies hate to be reminded of that historical fact)
How did a guy with a pair the size he had to have manage to sit in a cramp fighter plane seat?
Casablanca La Marseillaise
Charles E. Yeager
William 'O Bee' O'Brien
Charles E. Weaver
I wish Bill Overstreet Jr. had signed it as well!
God Bless and God speed Bill.
Same fighter group, different squadron.
One of those French Resistance fighters was the father of Bernard Marie. A French dignitary who has hosted D-Day events every year since 1984, Marie said he met Overstreet in 1994. He knew Overstreet was well-known for his flight underneath the Eiffel Tower but didnt understand its true importance until he spoke with his father.
My father began shouting at me I have to meet this man, Marie said. Members of the French Resistance had seen his flight and it inspired them, including Maries father, he said.
This guy has done even more than what people are thinking, Marie said. He lifted the spirit of the French.
Marie was born into Nazi-occupied France and remembers the Allied troops coming to his home to liberate his family, forever giving him an appreciation for American WWII veterans. It led to a friendship with Overstreet as soon as they met.
Marie said Overstreet was a countryman and a wonderful man. He was very humble.
What an incredible man and hero he was. The details of this story were really touching. Reading about men like this who inspired so many and fought for the entire worlds freedom from tyranny renews my pride and faith in our country. Things are looking rough these days, but we are built on a solid core.
Did you read the much more detailed history of his training, close calls and missions? He survived several almost fatal aviation “incidents.”
WWII Veteran Aviator Bill Overstreet and His P-51 Mustang, Berlin Express
BTW, Drudge was carrying a headline attached to a very short article this morning - http://www.wtop.com/120/3534894/WWII-ace-who-flew-through-Eiffel-Tower-dies-in-Va
Thanks. I will check it out now.
Here is a post from another web site.
Thomas S Colones January 3, 2014 at 5:14 pm #
My condolences to his family and friends and he served this nation well in war and peace. Great P-51 pilot with the 357th FG in WW II. I see on this Youtube interview with Mr Overstreet he speaks here about liberating a Me-262 from a German airfield in occupied territory and flying it back to Ailled lines with the help of the French. Can anyone add more to this ????? Thanks ! TC
Really pathetic reporting, they identify the Me109G but couldn't waste the energy to identify the American aircraft flown by Mr. Overstreet. I remember when anyone that clueless would not hold a newspaper job very long.
Interment is in 10 minutes. His memorial service is this afternoon at 2:00 pm in Roanoke according to the funeral home obit. - http://www.memorialsolutions.com/sitemaker/sites/Oakeys1/memsol.cgi?user_id=1204221
You can sign and read the funeral home guestbook online (only 19 entries so far) - http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/Batesville/guestbook.aspx?n=william-overstreet&pid=168842356
Its all yours, Freepers. Go for it.
Gotta run. Got a memorial service to attend at 2:00 pm. Will provide after action later today.