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Planes of Fame

1st Lt. William J. Sloan

sloanOn the first day of 1921, William Judson "Dixie" Sloan was born in Richmond, Virginia. He became an Army aviation cadet on 25 August 1941, and graduated as a staff sergeant pilot with Class 42-C at Kelly Field, Texas, on 7 March 1942. Initially assigned to the 79th Pursuit Group at Dale Mabry Field, Florida, on 17 April 1942, he was transferred to the 96th Pursuit Squadron, 82nd Pursuit Group, Flying P-38s at Muroc Field, California.

Sloan went with the group to Northern Ireland in October and on to Telegram, Algeria in January. As a brand new second lieutenant, he scored the group's first North African victory when he shot down an Me-109 on a sweep over Gabes Airdrome. On 30 January, flying "Snooks", he destroyed another Me-109 and on 20 February he was credited with a double, an Me-109 and a Do-217 off Cap Bon. Sloan became the group's first ace when, on 15 February, he downed an Me-109 over a Luftwaffe airdrome near Kairouan.

On 20 May the group swept Villacidro Airdrome, Sardinia, and Lieutenant Sloan was credited with a Ju-88, an MC.200, and two Me-109 probables. He became a double ace on 20 July when he shot down an Italian Re.2001 and an Me-109 over Catania Gerbini. That day the Italian Air Force's 4th Stormo was led by two Italian aces, Franco Lucchini and Leonardo Ferrulli, one of whom Sloan downed, as both were lost that day. On 10 July Sloan claimed his fourth Italian fighter, an MC.200 over southwest Sicily. He scored his last victory on 22 July to become the top scoring ace in the Twelfth Air Force.

Sloan remained in the post-war Air Force, flying over 50 missions during the Berlin Airlift, and retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel on 30 September 1963

TALLY RECORD: 12 Confirmed, 2 Probables and 3 Damaged

DECORATIONS: Air Force Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 20 Oak Leaf Clusters

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