This Man Was the Only WWII Fighter Pilot in Europe to Earn the Medal of Honor

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In February of 1944, Howard was promoted to lieutenant colonel in recognition of his valor. Just a few months later in June, the General Carl Spaatz presented him with the Medal of Honor. No other fighter pilot in the European theater during WWII was bestowed such honor. He continued on with his military service getting promoted to colonel in 1945 and being assigned base commander of Pinellas Army Airfield. Fighter pilots would be sent to Pinellas Army Air Field in order to get specialized training in gunnery and dive-bombing before being sent overseas. At the end of the war he was credited with six Japanese kills and six German kills, but he was never his kill count that gave him the reputation as an air ace, but rather his actions on that one day.

In 1948 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the United States Air Force Reserve acting as commander of the 96th Bombardment Group. He became a civilian after the war and became Director of Aeronautics for St. Louis, Missouri. However, he remained in the reserve and kept his status as a general.

He would go on to found Howard Research before selling the company and retiring in 1977. In 1991, he finally took the time to write his own memoir about his experiences with the Flying Tigers and flying the P-51 Mustang called Roar of the Tiger. In 1994 on the 50th anniversary of the heroism that earned him the Medal of Honor, Pinellas County proclaimed “General Howard Day” and a permanent exhibit honoring him was unveiled at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport. He died the following year at the age of 81.

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