USAAC's First WWII Ace, Lt Col Boyd "Buzz" Wagner Disappeared 65 Years Ago

Discussion in 'Stories' started by Fairlane*66, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. Fairlane*66

    Fairlane*66 New Member

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    Lt Col Boyd D. "Buzz" Wagner, the USAAC's first WWII ace, disappeared while piloting a P-40K from Eglin Field, FL, to Maxwell Field, AL, 65 years ago this week. Though Wagner's remains and crushed aircraft were not found until Jan 1943, he in fact perished on 29 Nov 42 when his aircraft plummeted to earth about 25 miles east of Eglin. The cause of the crash was never revealed and America tragically lost one of her first wartime heroes.

    1Lt Buzz Wagner commanded the 17th Pursuit Pursuit Squadron at Nichols Field, PI, when the Japanese attacked on 8 Dec 41. In the following days, Buzz destroyed 5 Japanese aircraft in aerial combat and countless more on the ground, all while piloting a P-40. Grounded after he received glass in his eyes during a dogfight with enemy aircraft, Buzz was evacuated to Australia where he became the Chief of Pursuit Aviation for Fifth Air Force. In that capacity he trained newly arrived pursuit units for combat. Leading one fledgling P-39 unit on their first combat mission out of New Guinea, Buzz downed 3 more Japanese aircraft. He rotated back to the US in Sep 42 with a total of 8 kills to his credit. At the time of his death, Buzz was working special projects for Gen Hap Arnold and had been assigned to the Curtiss P-40 plant in Buffalo, New York, to help engineers improve the P-40's combat performance.

    Wagner's complete story has never been told and I hope to fill that gap in USAF history by writing his biography. With four years of dedicated research under my belt, there are a few more gaps to fill in before I actually start writing. If anyone has information on Buzz or knew him personally, please contact me at [email protected].

    Buzz Wagner was an extraordinary pilot, a stellar officer/commander, and a charismatic, out-in-front leader. Though his meteoric career was cut short 65 years ago, his legacy will live on. Please help me tell his story to new generations of Americans. Thanks.
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Great post and I wish you all the best on this project. I believe had Wagner returned to combat he would of easily been one of our top aces.
     
  3. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Too bad he never had the chance to fly anything better.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I had this event listed in my "This day in the war" thread.
     
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