87 Tactical Airpower Aircraft 'WW II, Korea, Vietnam' By: Jay Ashurst, Signed by: Ben Davis, Bud Mahurin, Leo Thorsness, Joe Jackson and Jay Ashurst Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was an American United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first African-American general officer in the United States Air Force. On December 9, 1998, he was advanced to four-star general by President Bill Clinton. During World War II, Davis was commander of the 99th and the 332nd Fighter Group, which escorted bombers on air combat missions over Europe. Davis himself flew sixty missions in P-39, Curtiss P-40, P-47 and P-51 Mustang fighters. Davis followed in his father's footsteps in breaking racial barriers, as Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. was the first African-American general in the United States Army. Colonel Walker Melville Mahurin (December 5, 1918 – May 11, 2010) — known as Bud Mahurin — was a United States Air Force (USAF) officer and aviator. During World War II, while serving in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), he was a noted flying ace. Mahurin was the first American pilot to become a double ace in the European Theater. He was the only United States Air Force pilot to shoot down enemy planes in both the European and Pacific Theaters and the Korean War.During World War II he was credited with 20.75 aerial victories, making him the sixth-highest American P-47 ace. He was credited with shooting down 3.5 MiG-15s in Korea, giving him a total of 24.25 aircraft destroyed in aerial combat. Leo Keith Thorsness (born February 14, 1932) is a retired colonel in the United States Air Force who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the medal for an air engagement on April 19, 1967. He was shot down two weeks later and spent six years in captivity in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. After his military service, Thorsness served one term in the Washington State Senate. Joe Madison Jackson (born March 14, 1923) served as a career officer in the United States Air Force and received the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War for a dangerous impromptu rescue operation of three American military personnel.
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