Birth: September 24, 1920, Superior, Wisconsin
Died: August 6, 1945 (age 24) near Burbank, California
Ira "Dick" Bong is the United States' highest-scoring air
ace, having shot down at least 40 Japanese aircraft during World War II.
Bong is a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF), and is a
recipient of the Medal of Honor.
What do you know about Medal of Honor recipient
Dick Bong? Try this World War-2 Medal of Honor Quiz.
"Check Your Answers" at the bottom of the page.
1. He began studying at Superior State Teachers College in 1938.
While at the college, Bong enrolled in the Civilian Pilot Training
Program, and also took private flying lessons. In 1941, he enlisted in
the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program. Who was one of his gunnery
- Gene Autry
- Barry Goldwater
- Lyndon Johnson
2. Bong's first assignment was to the 49th Fighter Squadron (FS),
14th Fighter Group at Hamilton Field, California. What fighter did he
- P-38 Lightning
- P-40 Warhawk
- P-51 Mustang
3. On June 12 1942, Bong buzzed a house in nearby San Anselmo, the
home of a pilot who had just been married. He was cited and grounded for
breaking flying rules, along with three other P-38 pilots who had looped
around the Golden Gate Bridge on the same day. Bong was still grounded
when his group was sent to England in July 1942. He transferred to
another Hamilton Field unit, the 78th Fighter Group, where he was
assigned to the 84th Fighter Squadron. Where was his unit sent to?
- Southwest Pacific Area
- Northern Africa
4. On December 27, 1942, he claimed his initial aerial victories,
shooting down a Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" and an Nakajima Ki-43
"Oscar" over Buna (during the Battle of Buna-Gona). What medal
was Bong awarded?
- Silver Star
- Bronze Star
- Purple Heart
5. On leave in November/December of 1943 Bong met Marge Vattendahl at
a Superior State Teachers' College Homecoming event and began dating
her. On returning to the Pacific in January 1944 he named his P-38
"Marge" and adorned the nose with her photo. Captain Bong had
shot down 27 aircraft, surpassing Eddie Rickenbacker's American record
of 26 credited victories in World War I. When did he surpass
- April 1944
- July 1944
- January 1945
6. What medal did Bong receive the from General Douglas MacArthur in
- Medal of Honor
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Silver Star
7. Where did he shot down his last aircraft on December 16, 1 Oscar?
- Mindoro, Philippines
- Port Moresby, Indonesia
- Iwo Jimo
8. In January 1945, the Allied air commander in the South West
Pacific Area, Kenney sent the ace of aces home for good. Bong married
Marge and participated in numerous PR activities, such as promoting the
sale of war bonds.
9. On August 6, 1945, the primary fuel pump sheared during takeoff on
the acceptance flight of P-80A 44-85048. Bong had forgotten or could not
switch to the auxiliary fuel pump. Bong successfully escaped the
aircraft, but was too low for his parachute to successfully deploy. His
death was front-page news across the country, sharing space with the
first news of the bombing of Hiroshima.
10. Where is Richard Bong buried?
- Poplar Cemetery, Poplar, Douglas County, Wisconsin,
- Pine Grove Lawn Cemetery, Minchinbury, New South Wales, Australia
- Rolling Green Memorial Park, West Chester, Pennsylvania