View Full Version : Hero Passes

05-19-2010, 07:59 AM
Rest In Peace, Bud.....

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Walker "Bud" Mahurin, a fighter pilot who shot down two dozen planes in two wars and was regarded as one of America's top aces ever, has died, his wife said. He was 91.

Joan Mahurin said Bud Mahurin died of natural causes at his home in Newport Beach on Tuesday.

She said her husband kept flying small planes - and kept receiving fan mail - for most of his life.

"He would get letters from teenagers to old war veterans," Joan Mahurin said.

Doug Lantry, a historian at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio, said Mahurin's name is familiar to all in the Air Force.

"Bud Mahurin was the only Air Force pilot to shoot down enemy aircraft in the European theater of operations and the Pacific and in Korea," Lantry told the Los Angeles Times. "He was known as a very courageous, skilled and tenacious fighter pilot."

Mahurin was shot down himself, twice during World War II and once in the Korean War, which led to his capture and 16 traumatic months in a prison camp.

A native of Benton Harbor, Mich., Mahurin studied engineering at Purdue University then joined the Army Air Forces in September 1941 - three months before Pearl Harbor.

He went by the call sign "Honest John," a title he'd later adopt for his memoirs.

During the war he was assigned to a fighter group in England, where the first plane he took down was his own.

Mahurin told the Orange County Register in 2007 that during a training run he flew too close to one of the B-24 bombers he was assigned to protect, hit its propellor and had to bail out.

He would redeem himself a month later, shooting down his first pair of German planes in August 1943 while flying a P-47 Thunderbolt.

By October he had become an ace, meaning he had scored five aerial victories. The number rose to ten later that year, making Mahurin the first "double ace" in the European Theater of Operations. Three of the planes he downed came in a single mission.

In March of 1944 he had to bail out of his heavily damaged plane and needed aid from the French Resistance to get back to England.

His knowledge of the resistance made his potential capture in Europe too dangerous and he was grounded, but would fly again in the Phillipines and finished the war with over 20 aerial victories. His later service in the Korean War brought the number to 24.

"I was brought up in an age when flying was the only thing," Mahurin told the Air Force magazine Airman in 2003, when he was a retired colonel. "We knew the value of being an ace, but you just didn't try to go out and become an ace. Mostly because, in my case, I was scared to death to begin with. I thought if I just get to meet an ace while on active duty, I'd be happy."

Along with Joan, his wife of 40 years, Mahurin is survived by two sons, a daughter and a stepdaughter.

Mahurin will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 11 with full military honors.

05-19-2010, 08:21 AM
I've read all about Bud. A true American hero and a man of his
time. RIP Bud.:patriot:

05-19-2010, 09:17 AM
Back up in the clouds where he belongs.

Cave Gimp
05-20-2010, 08:47 AM
We toast our hearty comrades who have
Fallen from the skies, And were gently caught
By God's own hand to be with Him on High.

To dwell among the soaring clouds
They've known so well before, from victory
Roll to tail chase, at heaven's very door.

As We fly among them there we're sure to
Head their plea, to take care my friend,
Watch your six, and do one more roll
Just for me.

-Commander Jerry Coffee
Hanoi 1968


05-20-2010, 09:31 AM
He flew with the 56th Fighter Group. My Grandfather was also on loan to them, and flew many missions. Gramps was involved with intelligience and actually took the guns out of his P47 to install the first reel-to-reel cameras in a plane to catch the action. He earned the Legion of Merit for doing so. He had trunkfuls of old photos and film that he loved to share with me. Many of them are now in museums. Here is a cool websited honoring the men of the 56th if anybody is interested...


R.I.P. Bud!