Col. Perry J. "PJ" Dahl
Col. Perry J. "PJ" Dahl
“Born 18 February 1923, Colonel Dahl served in the 41st Infantry Division as an enlisted man in the early 1940s. He applied for aviation cadet training shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, was accepted and graduated as a Second Lieutenant in June 1943.”
Following transition training in the P-38 Lightning, Dahl was sent to Tumwater, Washington with the 55th Fighter Group, then on to the Pacific Theater as a replacement pilot in the 432nd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group "Satan’s Angels". Starting in Buna, New Guinea, he fought through the Pacific, ending up at Lingayen Gulf, Philippine Islands.
Lieutenant Dahl scored his first victory on 9 November 1943, a Zeke downed near Alexishafen, and destroyed another Zeke over Wewak three days before Christmas. He was credited with a third Zeke on 23 January 1944 and became an ace on 3 April when he shot down a Zeke and an Oscar near Santani Lake. He was credited with one more Oscar on 8 June before the group moved to the Philippines.
Promoted to captain, Dahl continued to run up his score, downing a Tony on 10 November. Two weeks later he was involved in a mid-air collision and parachuted into enemy territory. He was captured by a Japanese patrol but was rescued by Filipino guerrillas. He returned to his unit thirty one days later and concluded his scoring in March 1945, credited with a Sally on the 5th and a Hamp on the 28th.
“Following World War II Dahl attended the University of Washington and Southern Colorado State University, where he graduated with a Batchelor of Science degree. He was employed with the Seattle Post Intelligencer when he was recalled to active duty in February, 1951. Following recall, his duty assignments included: Test pilot, Air Force Depot; Editor Flying Safety Magazine; Student, Air Command and Staff College; Commander 734th Aircraft Warning and Control Squadron; Air Staff, Pentagon, Washington DC; Vice Commandant of Cadets, United States Air Force Academy; Deputy Chief of Staff, North American Air Defense Command and Commander, 56th Special Operations Wing. Colonel Dahl flew two combat tours in Southeast Asia. He retired from the Air Force on June 30 1978.”
Congressional Gold Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
16 Air Medals. Bronze Star
2 Meritorious Service Medals
2 Presidential Unit Citations
Air Force Commendation Medal
Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Numerous service ribbons.