Robert Aschenbrener was born on November 22, 1920, in Fifield, Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on January 12, 1942, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Moore Field, Texas, on September 6, 1942. After completing P-40 Warhawk training, Lt Aschenbrener was assigned to the 8th Fighter Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group in New Guinea in May 1943. He was credited with the destruction of 3 enemy aircraft in aerial combat before rotating back to the states for 3 months in the summer of 1944. After returning to the 8th Fighter Squadron, Capt Aschenbrener was credited with destroying 7 more enemy aircraft and damaging 1 while flying P-40's and P-38 Lightnings in November and December 1944. He was shot down by antiaircraft fire over the Philippines on December 25, 1944, and returned to his unit a month later after evading capture. Maj Aschenbrener served as Commander of the 7th Fighter Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group in the Philippines from February to May 1945, and then served as an instructor in New Guinea from May to August 1945. He returned to the U.S. in September 1945, and was honorably discharged from the Army Air Forces in October 1945. Robert Aschenbrener died on July 2, 2009.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-38 Fighter Airplane in the 8th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group, FIFTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on 24 November 1944, over the Philippine Islands. On this day Captain Aschenbrener shot down FOUR enemy aircraft in a single mission. His unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 5th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.