Author Topic: RIP Bill Overstreet  (Read 19462 times)

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RIP Bill Overstreet
« on: May 29, 2018, 05:48:20 PM »
The fighter pilot who flew through the Eiffel Tower in 1944 has died.

In the spring of 1944 Bill and his P-51C, the 'Berlin Express' were near Paris when the scene that is immortalized in the
artwork by Len Krenzler of Action Art that leads this article took place.
Bill had followed a German Bf109 from the bombers he was escorting when most of the German fighters left. The two planes had been in a running dogfight.

The German pilot flew over Paris hoping that the heavy
German anti-aircraft artillery would solve his problem and
eliminate Overstreet and the 'Berlin Express', though Bill
managed to get some hits in at about 1500 feet.

The German's engine was hit, and Bill stayed on his tail
braving the intense enemy flak. His desperation undoubtedly growing, the German pilot aimed his plane at the Eiffel Tower and in a surprising maneuver, flew beneath it.
Undeterred, Bill followed right behind him, scoring several more hits in the process. The German plane crashed and Bill escaped the heavy flak around Paris by flying low and full throttle over the river until he had cleared the city's heavy anti-aircraft batteries.

WWII fighter pilot who flew THROUGH the Eiffel Tower to take down a German plane dies in Virginia aged 92.  William Overstreet Jr., a former captain in the U.S. Air Corps, passed away on Sunday at a hospital in
Roanoke, Virginia.

He famously flew his plane beneath the Eiffel Tower in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, lifting the spirits of French troops on the ground.
In 2009, he was presented France's Legion of Honor.

Before the ceremony, Overstreet had previously said that, if he lived long enough to receive the Legion of Honor, he would be accepting it in memory of his fallen brothers.  In particular, he wanted to pay tribute to a friend, Eddy Simpson, who
died fighting the Nazis on the ground so his comrades, including Overstreet, could escape.

After the award was pinned to his lapel, Overstreet said:
'If I said, "Thank you," it wouldn't be enough,' before adding:  'What more than "thank you" do you need?'

He was born in Clifton Forge, Virginia in 1921 and after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Air Corps as a fighter pilot.

By February 1942, he was a private and sent to California for flight training; there, his instructors prepared him for the unexpected mid-flight by cutting the engine as he landed.

He was always humble. Whenever the press interviewed him, he said,
"I didn't do anything. We were a team".