In just 12 short months Maj. George E. Preddy, Jr. had 26.83 air victories and 5 ground victories bringing his total to 31.83 kills. Almost certainly, he would also have come out as top American ace in Europe had it not been for that tragic error on Christmas Day in 1944. He would no doubt have been a part of the air battle called Operation Bodenplatte by the Luftwaffe when many of his squadron mates shot down as many as five enemy aircraft on New Years Day 1945. John C. Meyers, CO of the 352nd who upon meeting him said that Preddy “couldn’t punch his way out of a paper bag” later said of him: “He’s just the greatest fighter pilot who ever squinted through a gunsight”.
Maj. Preddy could have not fought at all. He could have gone home on no less than 7 occasions to a hero’s welcome. Instead he continued to fight for his country. Thanks to people like Maj. Preddy and countless others we get to enjoy Memorial Day in freedom. Think of him while you enjoy the day.
Hat Tip: Jay