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American Fighter Aces
By J. Ward Boyce with expanded
text by Bill Martin

The American Fighter Aces Association
currently recognize 1,442 fighter pilots as Aces.

In general, the World War I list includes those accepted by
the individual services under the rules at that time. For example,
pilots in the U.S. Air Service were awarded full credit for a
shared victory. This was not the case in later years. For the
World War II list, heavy reliance was placed on victory credits
awarded by competent authority (i.e., VII Fighter Command)
at the time. Although post-war “adjustments” have been made
by the military services in some cases, reducing an individual’s
score, the AFAA has chosen to accept the contemporary ruling.

In verifying the aces of the US Air Service, US Army Air Forces,
and the US Air Force, we primarily accepted data provided in
the Air Force Aerial Victory Credits, World War I, World War II,
Korea, and Vietnam, a USAF Historical Research Center
document. No such official aerial victory lists exist for the
US Navy or Marine Corps. Accordingly, we relied on
research conducted by Dr. Frank Olynyk, who reviewed
hundreds of documents in the Naval Historical Division of
the Operational Archives section in the Washington Navy
Yard and ships’ logs kept by the National Archives, also in
Washington. For the aerial victories credited to the American
Volunteer Group (“Flying Tigers”), we referred to original
AVG records filed with the extensive Chennault Collection in
the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. We relied on
research conducted by British historian Christopher Shores
for initial verification of victory claims of Americans who flew
with the Royal Air Force.

The Association does not recognize the “guys in the back” -
the observer/gunners in World War I, the radar officers in P-61s
in World War I I, and the WSOs (weapon systems operators)
in the F-4 Phantom II of Vietnam - as fighter aces.
The American Fighter Aces Association maintains the position
that a fighter ace is one who was credited for aerial victories
while in control of the aircraft. Those back-seaters who were
teamed with aces, however, are listed in the Aces Album
Appendix (see Aceology). Although this book is the most
comprehensive treatment of all known American fighter
aces to date, it is still incomplete.

As we build this website, If any Ace, family member, group
or individual can supply photos, missing postwar data such
as an ace’s combat accounts we would be indebted.
Any material of this kind received will be treated with great
care. After verifcation all information will be added to this
site and the bio of the individual Ace and Legacy of the
American Fighter Aces.