Major Richard Ira Bong: WWII ‘Ace of Aces’, and Our Hometown Hero

Major Richard Ira Bong: WWII ‘Ace of Aces’, and Our Hometown Hero

In the annals of World War II aviation history, one name stands out with exceptional prominence – Major Richard Ira Bong, the ‘Ace of Aces.’ But beyond the battlefield, Major Bong was more than a war hero; he was our hometown hero, a symbol of courage and excellence that resonates through the corridors of our community.

Early Years:

Born on September 24, 1920, in Poplar, Wisconsin, Richard I. Bong journey from a small-town boy to a legendary aviator began. Growing up with a passion for aviation, Bong’s dreams took flight in the clear skies above our very own hometown.

Military Service:

As war clouds gathered, Bong answered the call to duty and enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. His exceptional flying skills and marksmanship quickly earned him recognition. Bong piloted the P-38 Lightning, becoming the leading American ace of WWII with 40 aerial victories – a feat that earned him the title ‘Ace of Aces.’

Ace of Aces Legacy:

Major Bong’s legacy extends beyond his impressive combat record. His leadership qualities and commitment to excellence inspired countless others. Bong’s dedication was not only to victory in the air but to the principles of service, courage, and camaraderie that define the best of the American military tradition.

Hometown Commemoration:

Our hometown proudly commemorates Major Bong’s legacy. From the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center to local memorials and annual events, our community ensures that the heroics of Major Bong are not only remembered but celebrated.

Recognition and Awards:

Major Richard Ira Bong’s contributions were recognized with numerous awards, including the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Silver Star. Each accolade underscores not just his skill in the cockpit but the indomitable spirit that defines true heroism.

Beyond the Battlefield:

Major Bong’s impact reverberates through our community’s commitment to honor his memory. His story is woven into the fabric of our hometown, inspiring generations to strive for excellence, embrace duty, and remember the sacrifices made for the freedoms we cherish.


Major Richard I. Bong, the ‘Ace of Aces,’ not only soared through the skies in defense of liberty but left an indelible mark on our hometown. His courage, skill, and commitment to service make him more than a historical figure – he is our Hometown Hero. As we reflect on his legacy, we honor Major Bong not just for his wartime achievements but for the values he represents, reminding us that even from the smallest towns, heroes can emerge to shape the course of history.