George Preddy

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George Preddy
George Preddy.jpg
George Preddy
Born(1919-02-05)February 5, 1919
DiedDecember 25, 1944 (1944-12-26) (aged 25)
Southeast of Liège, Belgium
Place of burialLorraine American Cemetery, Saint-Avold, France
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army Air Forces
Years of service1941–1944
RankMajor
Unit49th Pursuit Group (Southwest Pacific);
352nd Fighter Group (Europe)
Battles/warsWorld War II
 
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George Preddy
George Preddy.jpg
George Preddy
Born(1919-02-05)February 5, 1919
DiedDecember 25, 1944 (1944-12-26) (aged 25)
Southeast of Liège, Belgium
Place of burialLorraine American Cemetery, Saint-Avold, France
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army Air Forces
Years of service1941–1944
RankMajor
Unit49th Pursuit Group (Southwest Pacific);
352nd Fighter Group (Europe)
Battles/warsWorld War II

Major George Preddy, USAAF (February 5, 1919–December 25, 1944) was a United States Army Air Forces officer during World War II and an American ace credited with 26.83 enemy air-to-air kills,[1] ranking him as the top P-51 Mustang ace of World War II and sixth on the list of all-time highest scoring American aces.[2]

World War II[edit]

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, 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 and missed, but hit all three P-51s. Preddy managed to release his canopy, but he was unable to bail out, Preddy mortally wounded, his aircraft hit the ground at high speed and a low angle. Preddy had a chance of surviving the crash but his wounds from .50 calibre fire were mortal.[3]

Preddy's brother William, a P-51 pilot with the 503rd Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group, was later buried alongside him at the Lorraine American Cemetery, Saint Avold, France. William died in today's Czech Republic on April 17, 1945, from wounds he sustained when he was shot down by AA fire, while strafing Ceske Budejovice airfield.

Memorials[edit]

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2087 in Greensboro was named after George Preddy, soon after the end of World War II.

In 1968, Business Interstate 85, through Greensboro, North Carolina was given the street name Preddy Boulevard, in memory of both Preddy brothers.

There is a memorial kiosk with video, photos, and models of planes flown by the Preddy brothers at Piedmont Triad International Airport.[4]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ [1] George Preddy Greensboro’s Ace, North Carolina Museum of History, Office of Archives and History, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, 2005.
  2. ^ http://www.highironillustrations.com/aviation/fullhouse_1.html
  3. ^ HistoryNet, 2006, "George Preddy: Top-Scoring World War II Mustang Ace". Access date: December 19, 2010.
  4. ^ "P is for Preddy Brothers, George and William". Greensboro Daily. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]