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Capt. John E. "Jack" Purdy

Capt. John E. "Jack" Purdy

Capt. John E. "Jack" PurdyJohn Edgar "Jack" Purdy, Born in Wyandotte, Michigan on 17 June 1919, was drafted into the Army in June 1941. He served his basic training in the Calvary at Fort Riley, Kansas and was sent to Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Accepted into the Army Air Forces' aviation cadet program in December 1941. He graduated from Luke Field, near Phoenix, Arizona, on 20 May 1943.

After extensive stateside training in P-39s, P-40s, and P-38s, Lieutenant Purdy was sent to the Southwest Pacific Theater for combat duty. Assigned to the 433rd Fighter Squadron,, 475th Fighter Group, he flew the P-38 Lightning from bases in New Guinea and the Philippine Islands. Credited with his first aerial victory on 16 May 1944, he had an exceptional 12-day combat period from 5-17 December 1944, during which time he was credited with shooting down six Japanese fighters along with two probable.

On 9 January 1945, the day of the allied landing on Luzon in the Philippines, Purdy led the Group on a bombing mission to knock out bridges between Manilla and the landing site. He was shot down by ground fire, but was able to make a crash-landing in the Cavite Province. He was picked up by guerrillas who tended to his wounds and took excellent care of him for 16 days until his rescue by an air sea rescue PBY. This had been his fifth crash landing and for all practical purposes ended his flying career after 184 combat missions.

Following the war Purdy founded and became CEO of the Dayton Showcase Company. He served on the board of trustees of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, and served on its Board of Nominations. He was president of the American Fighter Aces Foundation, and later was founder and chairman of the American Fighter Aces Museum Foundation.

Tally Record:
7 Confirmed
1 Damaged 

Decorations:
Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart
Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters

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475th Fighter Group Reunions

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