Five-Gun Fury .
Flight Journal|March - April 2021
Lt. Floyd Fulkerson: Wingman to the Aces
JOHN DEJANOVICH
Five-Gun Fury .

There are no great aces without great wingmen, and young Lt. Floyd Fulkerson from Little Rock, Arkansas was one of those wingmen. Although he had four confirmed victories, so he was nearly an ace himself, he saw his primary contribution to the war effort to have been the protection of his lead pilots, some of whom were America’s leading aces. During his time with the 475TH Fighter Group in the Pacific, Floyd flew with such notables as Major Richard Bong, Major Tommy McGuire, and even the much-celebrated “Lone Eagle,” Charles Lindbergh. Cover the shooter, that’s what wingmen do. They protect the shooter from surprise attack. In this role, Fulkerson helped some of our great aces achieve their successes.

A bomber pilot, but not for long

“I was 21 when I finished training on the B-25 Mitchell and was shipped overseas. I arrived in the South Pacific in June 1943, and immediately started flying missions out of Port Moresby in New Guinea, including one low-level strafing run on the Japanese airfields at Rabaul. That early in the war, that was an extremely risky endeavor. “Not long after arriving, and quite by chance, I ran into an old college classmate while visiting Base Ops on a nearby field. My friend Alec Guerry was in an administrative position and involved in the forming of a new P-38 fighter unit. After some catching up on old times, I let it be known that as much as I loved strafing the enemy with the Mitchell, I would rather be dicing it up in a ‘38.’ Alec took my suggestion to heart and set about pushing the right buttons to make my dream a reality.”

This story is from the March - April 2021 edition of Flight Journal.

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This story is from the March - April 2021 edition of Flight Journal.

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