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 ...
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?
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