Segments in this Video

Tommy McGuire: Introduction (01:31)


McGuire paid for flying lessons while in college, attempted to join the RAF, and enlisted as a U.S. Army Air Corp flight cadet. In his first two days of combat, he shot down five enemy aircraft. McGuire was killed in battle.

McGuire's Early Years (03:34)

McGuire was born in New Jersey in 1920, had a tutor, attended exclusive summer camps, and was a daredevil. He moved to Florida at the age of 10 and played in the school marching band. He attended Georgia Tech University, enlisted as an aviation cadet, and met his future wife.

Early Military Career (02:24)

McGuire earned his wings, attended fighter training, and patrolled for Japanese submarines; he flew a loop in a P-39. McGuire got married and moved to California to train in the P-38 Lightning.

Combat Training (03:01)

McGuire volunteered to train in a P-38; he wanted to be the best fighter ace. In 1943, McGuire joined the 49th Fighter Group and met Lt. Richard Bong. He transferred to the 475th Fighter Group and was assigned to plane inspections.

Combat Missions (03:58)

The 475th moved to New Guinea and McGuire became an ace after two missions. He continued recording kills, was shot down and off flight status for almost two months before returning to combat. He became operations officer for the 431st Fighter Squadron and started gaining the attention of the media.

McGuire's Changing Perspective (03:01)

McGuire was promoted to commanding officer of the 431st Fighter Squadron and moved to Holandia; he began distancing himself from his men. McGuire met Charles Lindbergh who taught the pilots how to maximize range.

Ace Race Continues (02:15)

After Bong recorded his 35th kill, he became a propaganda tool; after his 40th kill, he sold war bonds. McGuire looked for Japanese aircraft but could not find any for weeks; he finally recorded his 38th kill.

McGuire's Death (03:01)

In January 1945, McGuire and three other pilots searched for Japanese planes. The truth of exactly how his plane was downed is unknown. McGuire's wife accepted his posthumous Medal of Honor; Lindbergh attended the ceremony.

Credits: Legends of Air Power: Tommy McGuire (00:30)

Credits: Legends of Air Power: Tommy McGuire

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Legends of Air Power: Tommy McGuire

Part of the Series : Legends of Air Power
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America’s number two all-time ace, behind his good friend and rival Richard Bong, Thomas McGuire was born in Ridgewood, NJ in 1920. Although he only flew two years of combat in World War II, he was awarded America’s highest awards, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, six Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts, 14 Air Medals and many others. During the final days of the war, McGuire was killed while saving the life of a wingman.

Length: 24 minutes

Item#: BVL129036

ISBN: 978-1-64023-485-7

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

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