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George  E.  Preddy,  Jr.
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Ribbons
 
  Rank, Service
Major O-4,  U.S. Army Air Forces
  Veteran of:
North Carolina National Guard 1940-1941
U.S. Army (USAAC, USAAF) 1941-1944
World War II 1941-1944 (KIA)
  Tribute:

George Preddy was born on February 5, 1919, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He enlisted in the North Carolina National Guard in September 1940, and served with the 252nd Coast Artillery Regiment until entering the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Corps on April 29, 1941. Preddy was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Army Air Forces and was awarded his pilot wings at Craig Field, Alabama, on December 12, 1941, and then served as a P-40 Warhawk pilot with the 9th Pursuit Squadron of the 49th Pursuit Group in Australia from January 1942 until he was injured in a mid-air collision on July 12, 1942, returning to the United States after being hospitalized in August 1942. During this time he was credited with damaging 2 enemy aircraft in aerial combat. Lt Preddy next served for a short time as a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot with the 50th and then the 326th Fighter Groups before joining the 34th Fighter Squadron (later redesignated the 487th Fighter Squadron) of the 352nd Fighter Group at Mitchel Field, New York, in December 1942. He deployed with the group to England in July 1943, and was credited with destroying 3 enemy aircraft in aerial combat before the group transitioned to the P-51 Mustang in April 1944. Maj Preddy was made Commander of the 328th Fighter Squadron of the 352nd Fighter Group in October 1944, and he deployed with his group to Y-29 at Asch, Belgium, in mid-December 1944, but he was killed in action by ground fire on Christmas Day, December 25, 1944. From April to December 1944, while flying P-51s, he was credited with the destruction of 23.833 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, making him the top-scoring P-51 Mustang pilot of all time. His total victories for World War II were 26.833 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air, 3 probables, 4 damaged, and 5 destroyed on the ground while strafing enemy airfields. George Preddy is buried next to his brother Bill at the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France. He was nominated for induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996 and was inducted into the American Combat Airman Hall of Fame in 2004.

His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:

For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy, 6 August 1944. On this date Major Preddy was leading a fighter group on a bomber escort mission against targets in the vicinity of Hamburg, Germany. As the bomber formation approached its objective, a flight of thirty enemy fighters with top cover support of an additional thirty fighters attempted to intercept the bombers. Major Preddy with his wing man immediately attacked the lower enemy flight, and in spite of its superiority in numbers and the danger of attack from above pressed home his attack with such aggressiveness that the enemy threat was completely broken up. In the ensuing engagement Major Preddy destroyed six enemy fighters. By his disregard for personal safety and his determined will to destroy the enemy, Major Preddy rendered outstanding and valorous service to our nation.

  




 


 

 
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