Richard I. Bong, who would become America's "Aces of Aces" was born on September 24, 1920. He was the son
of a sewdish immigrant. He grew up on a farm near the small town of Poplar, Wisconsin. Richard's nickname
was Dick. Richard did good in high school, worked on the farm and persued many interests as a teenager. He
did his primary flight training at Rakin Aeronatical Academy in California in June 1941, and completed
basics at Gardner Field, California. He went to Luke Field near Phoenix, for advanced training in single-engine
planes, where he learned to master AT-6 under Captain Barry Goldwater, who later said "I taught him fighter
gunnery." He shot down a total of 40 enemy aircraft.
On August 6, 1945, while half a world away Enola Gay dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, Bong stepped into an
airplane for the last time. His P-80 malfunctioned just after take-off and while he bailed out, he never had a chance.