Well done, Fritz

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Brigadier General Frederick Payne USMC ret., better known as “Fritz,” has slipped the surly bonds of earth at 104 and gone on to Eternal Rest.

During two and a half weeks in 1942, from behind the guns of his Grumman F4F Wildcat flying over the Pacific near Guadalcanal, Mr. Payne, a major at the time, downed three Japanese bombers and two Zero fighters, having already shared credit with another pilot for bringing down an enemy bomber. When he was awarded the Navy Cross, the citation read in part: “Throughout that strenuous period when the island airfield was under constant bombardment and our precarious ground positions were menaced by the desperate counterthrusts of a fanatical foe, Major Payne repeatedly patrolled hostile territory and intercepted enemy bombing flights,” downing six aircraft in “five vigorous fights against tremendous odds.” He was also awarded the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

I suppose if you can live through this, you have a pretty good chance of passing the century mark.

While he saw combat throughout the Pacific, from the Aleutians to New Guinea, Mr. Payne recalled that his only brush with death was when, suffering from malaria, he vomited in his oxygen mask and passed out. He recovered as his plunging plane passed 8,000 feet, but managed to pull out and land safely.

With his passing, there remain only 71 out of 1,450 American pilots recognized as achieving the status of ace in all conflicts since World War 1.

Godspeed and thanks, Fritz.  RIP.

4 comments to “Well done, Fritz”
  1. We do need more stories about courage, and sacrifice, and honor. RIP, Fritz.

    Congrats and good luck on your blog, CBD. Great name, and I’m looking forward to reading more posts. Maybe some foodie stuff? I always like those.

  2. Unbelievable that such a large percent of our population have no knowledge of what these Americans have contributed to our existence. Even more unbelievable is that there are so many that know and don’t care. Best of luck JJ. I always look forward to your comments at the other place.

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