|Birth: ||Sep. 25, 1909|
San Diego County
|Death: ||Jul. 4, 1946|
San Diego County
Herbst was an American flying ace who was officially the second highest-scoring fighter pilot in the China Burma India Theater with 18 confirmed victories made during 7 months with the 23d Fighter Group. After the war, Herbst toured in an aerobatic demonstration team flying jets.
He was born in San Diego County, California, in the rural North County near Palomar Mountain, an area he described as "Rancho Palomar". He was married in the 1930s and fathered a son named Tommy in 1933.
In 1941, Herbst was working as a tax consultant for an American oil company when he left civilian life and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to learn to fly fighters in combat. After training, Herbst was posted to the United Kingdom. Some said He scored against a Messerschmitt Bf 109 in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. In early 1942, He returned to the U.S. and joined the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) as a flight instructor on the Florida coast, where a recuperating David Lee "Tex" Hill witnessed his flying skill and fingered Herbst as an excellent candidate for CBI Theater combat pilot.
On November 9, 1945, Herbst became the commander of 445 Flight Test Squadron.
In April 1946, Herbst and Robin Olds formed a jet aerobatics demonstration team, flying the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. The two pilots performed a coordinated routine that thrilled the crowds at every stop, including an appearance at Washington, D.C.
Herbst married for the second time on July 3, 1946, to Jeanne Eve Murphy, an actress.
He was mortally injured at the age of 36 in front of 30,000 people at the San Diego County Fair on July 4, 1946 when his P-80 Shooting Star jet crashed after failing to pull up in a dive just west of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Herbst's second wife of less than 24 hours witnessed the accident, as did his 13-year-old son Tommy. Both rushed to aid in the rescue, but Herbst died shortly thereafter in a nearby naval hospital.
Los Angeles National Cemetery
Los Angeles County
Plot: 126, 11/R
Maintained by: dfr
Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Offi...
Record added: Mar 04, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 3716811