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Don Gentile becomes new pilot ace... Evacuation of Odessa, Ukraine...

Item # 688339

April 10, 1944

THE EVENING LEADER, Staunton, Virginia April 10, 1944 

* Don Gentile becomes the new American ace pilot 
* Odessa, Ukraine is evacuated

This 8-page newspaper has a one column photo on the front page with caption: "New-Record Ace" which is a photo on Don Gentile who just passed the famous Captain Eddie Rickenbacker for shooting down the most enemy airplanes during wartime action.

Also, a nice banner headline that reads: "BERLIN ANNOUNCES EVACUATION OF ODESSA" which tells of the Russians regaining their city back from the Nazis.

Other news of the day with much on World War II. Light browning, otherwise in good condition.

wikipedia notes: Major Dominic Salvatore "Don" Gentile (December 6, 1920 - January 28, 1951) was the WWII USAAF pilot who was the first to break Eddie Rickenbacher's WWI record of 26 downed aircraft.

After a fascination with flying as a child, his father provided him with his own plane, an Aerosport Biplane. He managed to log over 300 hours flying time by July 1941, when he attempted to join the Army Air Force. The U.S. military required two years of college for its pilots, which Gentile did not have, therefore Gentile originally enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was posted to the UK in 1941. Gentile flew the Supermarine Spitfire Mark V with No. 133 Squadron, one of the famed "Eagle Squadron" during 1942. His first kills (Ju 88 & Fw 190) were on August 1, 1942, during Operation Jubilee; and he downed an FW-190 and a JU-88 on August 1, 1942.

In September 1942, the Eagle squadrons transferred to the USAAF, becoming the 4th Fighter Group. Gentile became a flight commander in September 1943, now flying the P-47 Thunderbolt. Having been Spitfire pilots, Gentile and the other pilots of the 4th were displeased when they transitioned to the heavy P-47. By late 1943 Group Commander Col. Don Blakeslee pushed for re-equipment with the lighter, more maneuverable, P-51 Mustang. Conversion to the P-51B at the end of February 1944 allowed Gentile to build a tally of 15.5 additional aircraft destroyed between March 3 and April 8, 1944. After downing 3 planes on April 8, he was the top scoring 8th Air Force ace when he crashed his personal P-51, named "Shangri La", on April 13, 1944 while stunting over the 4th FG's airfield at Debden for a group of assembled press reporters and movie cameras.

Category: The 20th Century