Preddy Jr, George Earl, born 05-02-1919 in Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina. son of Georg Preddy Sr and mother Clara Preddy From left: Clara, Bobby “Bozo” Boaz (friend of George’s who came to live with the Preddy family before WWII), George, Bill, and Rachel. Preddy grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. Before the war, he was a barnstormer pilot. In 1940, he made 3 attempts to join the US Navy and was rejected each time because of physical problems. Dejected, he returned to barnstorming. Credited with 26.83 victories, he was the top-scoring P-51 Mustang ace of World War II. He was a barnstorming pilot before the war in North Carolina and was rejected three times for naval service before joining the Army Air Corps in 1940. He trained as a fighter pilot during 1941 and was assigned to the 49th Pursuit Group in Australia, where he flew vs the Japanese and was credited with two damaged Japanese aircraft. He went home on leave in August 1942 after a serious mid-air collision with a squadron mate and was reassigned to the European theater, joining the 352nd Fighter Group after recovering from his injuries. He made his first combat flight over Occupied Europe in September 1943 and shot down his first German aircraft in December. He became an ace on 13-05-1944. In July, he shot down 4 enemy aircraft on a single mission, but his best day came on August 06-08-1944, when he shot down 6 German Bf-109 fighters. For this mission he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and leave in the US. Upon return from leave in October, he was named the commanding officer of the 328th Squadron in the 352nd Fighter Group.
Death and burial ground of Preddy Jr George Earl.
Preddy was killed by “friendly fire” on the morning of 25-12-1944, age 25. As commanding officer of the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd FG, he was leading a formation of 10 P-51s. They had been patrolling for about three hours when they were directed to assist in a dogfight already in progress. Preddy destroyed two Messerschmitt Bf 109s before being vectored to a lone Focke-Wulf Fw 190 strafing Allied ground forces southeast of Liege, Belgium. As the Fw 190, Preddy’s P-51, and two other P-51s passed over the Allied front line at treetop height, a US Army anti-aircraft (AA) battery (believed to be part of the 430th AA Battalion, XIX Corps ) fired at the Fw 190 but missed and instead hit all three P-51s. Preddy managed to release his canopy but was unable to bail out before his aircraft hit the ground at high speed and a low angle. He had a chance of surviving the crash but his wounds from .50-caliber fire were mortal
Preddy Jr, George Earl is buried on the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial Saint-Avold, Departement de la Moselle, Lorraine, France, Plot A, Row 21, Grave 43. Preddy’s brother William “Bill” , five years younger then his brother, a P-51 pilot with the 503rd Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group , was later buried alongside him at the Lorraine American Cemetery, Saint Avold, France. William died in today’s Czech Republic on 17-04-1945, age 21, just days before the war in Europe ended, from wounds he sustained when he was shot down by enemy AA fire, while strafing Ceske Budejovice airfield. Bill’s plot is A, Row 21, Grave 42. General John Charles Meyer , who was the fourth ranking American ace in the ETO (European Theater of Operations) and Preddy’s squadron commander for more than a year, wrote: “I have never met a man of… such intense desire to excel…. George Preddy was the complete fighter pilot.” Meyer died of a heart attack on December 2, 1975 and is buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.