He was a Lithuanian descent German former Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He was credited with 166 victories in over 600 missions. He recorded 164 of his victories over the Eastern Front. On August 7, 1944, he was flying a Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-5 and pursued a Russian Il-2 Sturmovik ground-attack aircraft eastwards over Russian lines near Dünaburg. He failed to return from the mission and was considered missing in action.