|Birth: ||Sep. 28, 1916|
|Death: ||Apr. 26, 2001|
Rector, a native of Marshall, North Carolina, graduated from Catawba College in 1938 and began his military career as a naval aviator. He was a carrier pilot on the Ranger, based in Norfolk, when he was recruited for the American Volunteer Group, the official name of the Flying Tigers. The unit was formed with the financial backing of the Chinese government to help defend the Burma Road and Chinese cities from Japanese attack before the United States entered the war.
Colonel Rector was credited with having destroyed 10.5 Japanese aircraft in aerial combat during the war, beginning December 20, 1941, when the Flying Tigers engaged in combat for the first time during a raid by Hanoi-based Japanese aircraft on the Chinese city of Kunming. Ed provided the AVG with its first aerial victory and would later record the last in a long list of 23rd Fighter Group air-to-air kills. In May 1942, he played a critical role in locating and attacking Japanese military columns attempting a push into China at the Salween River Gorge. This allowed the Chinese time to blow up a key bridge across the river, and the Japanese subsequently retreated into Burma.
Rector retired from the United States Air Force in 1962 as a Colonel and had a second career in the aviation industry as a consultant in India, North Africa, and Europe. He died April 26, 2001, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after suffering a heart attack and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: Section 66 Site 6467
Created by: Loren Bender
Record added: Sep 01, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41459594