Colonel Philip R. Adair war born in Tuttle, Oklahoma, April 15th 1920. He passed away Saturday, May 13th at the age of 97. He lived in Spotsylvania, Virginia with his wife, Carol Adair, daughter Gale Adair Clem and her husband Steven Clem. He died of complications following a heart attack.
As a youngster, he grew up watching US Army Air Corp pilots from the nearby airfield at Wichita Falls buzz the family farm and spook the horses. After graduating from high school in 1937, he had no money for college so he took a job as a candy salesman and saved his money so he could take flying lessons. In December 1941, events would change, he would have his pilot’s license and the US Army Air Corp accepted him as a cadet.
After advanced training he was assigned to the 89th Fighter Squadron of the 80th Fighter Group, which would later become the world famous and globally recognized “Burma Banshees”. Philip was the Flight Leader for D Flight and flew 139 combat missions. His plane “Lulu Belle” was number 44 and on his 44th mission, December 13th 1943, he would intercept and single handedly attack an enemy formation of 64 enemy airplanes. He shot down two confirmed victories that day and two more probable victories. For his bravery, Col. Adair was awarded the Silver Star. In May 1944 he would again find himself and his flight of four P-40 airplanes outnumbered by 15 Japanese Oscars. The battle commenced between 2,000 and 4,000 feet and would find Col. Adair claiming two more confirmed victories. Combining his love of automobiles and planes, his P-40 wore Wide White Wall tires and was probably the only P40 in WWII to wear such tires. He would also receive two other awards including the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal.
Col. Adair retired from the Air Force in 1971 and settled down in Goldvein, Virginia. He enjoyed time with his family, fishing and collecting Packard automobiles. Philip would take great pride in his membership in the Old Dominion Packard Club and always had an eye towards his next acquisition.
He is survived by his wife Carol Adair and four children, his daughter Judith Adair of Centerville, daughter Gale Adair Clem and her husband Steven Clem of Fredericksburg, son Robin Adair of Spotsylvania and son Philip Adair Jr. and his wife Colleen of Raleigh, NC, seven grandchildren Mac Gallahan, Rachel Gallahan, Frank Tranfa, Philip Tranfa, Luke Adair, Melanie Adair and Regan Adair, four great grandchildren, Van Tranfa, Thomas Tranfa, Austin Tranfa and Nathan Royce.
Col. Adair’s family will receive friends from 6 pm to 8 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at Found and Sons Funeral Chapels, 10719 Courthouse Rd, Fredericksburg. Burial will be scheduled for a later date in a national cemetery.
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