1945 – Richard I. Bong Dies

On this date WWII fighter pilot Richard I. Bong died, the same day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Known as the Ace of Aces, Bong was a skillful and daring pilot. He was hand-picked to fly one of fifty . Between 1942 and 1944, he shot down 40 enemy aircraft and became the leading U.S. air ace of all time. Bong was killed when his P-80 Shooting Star crashed on the take-off roll. Richard I. Bong was distinguished with the , Distinguished Service Cross, and many other medals and citations of honor. Bong is buried in Poplar Grove Cemetery in Poplar, Wisconsin.