World War II Aviator Ace. He joined the German Luftwaffe in 1937 and went on to be the second highest scoring ace of all time. Credited with 301 victories gained in 1104 missions, all his victories were recorded while flying a Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter over the Eastern front. As a Major, he was second only to fellow pilot Major Erich Hartmann who scored 352 kills serving in the same unit. Had it not been for frequent spells in hospital after being wounded there is little doubt he would have been the highest scoring fighter ace of all time. He flew his last mission on April 21, 1945 and was one of the few noted Luftwaffe Experten who escaped being imprisoned by the Russians. However, he did become a prisoner of war of the Allies, being released in September 1945. After the war he joined the Bundesluftwaffe, commanded JaboG 31 "Boelcke" rising to the rank of Generalleutnant and retired in 1976. On January 6, 1983, he and his wife were in a serious automobile accident and he passed away two days later.
Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith