On this day in Alabama history: Leading U.S. Navy fighter pilot was born

On this day in Alabama history: Leading U.S. Navy fighter pilot was born
Commander David McCampbell, commanding officer of VF-15's parent unit, Air Group 15, is standing just to right of the score card. His Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter (nicknamed Minsi III) is in the background, with Japanese flags painted below its cockpit representing 34 kills. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command)

January 16, 1929

David McCampbell was born in Bessemer on Jan. 16, 1910, but by 1922 his family had moved to West Palm Beach, Florida. After attending the Georgia Institute of Technology, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933 with a degree in marine engineering. During World War II in the Pacific theater of operations in 1944, McCampbell in the First Battle of the Philippine Sea shot down five Japanese bombers and two fighters. In the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea four months later, he shot down nine planes. In January 1945, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in those battles.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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