Having flown with the American Volunteer Group known as the "Flying Tigers", Howard had became an ace, building a score of six kills against the Japanese in Burma. Once the U.S. entered the war, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was eventually put into the new P-51 "Mustang", flying escort duty for B-17s bombing German targets in Europe. On January 11, 1944, his flight of P-51 escorts were drawn away in a reuse, leaving him, alone to face 30 fresh Luftwaffe fighters. Diving in, he would fight a Nazi fighter, shoot it down, then come up and fight another. He did this until he ran out of ammunition, but continued to drive off the enemy until they all had run.
He did not know how many he had shot down-he was too busy. Bomber crews recommended him for his gallantry and his gun camera footage showed he had shot down six German fighters.
He was the only fighter pilot to be awarded the Medal Of Honor in the European Theater.
-From an original painting by Robert Coker. / Copyright CokerAirArt.com 2022.
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