Richard Ira Bong
September 14, 1920 - August 6, 1945
The sculpture of a boy dressed in coveralls flying a model airplane represents the spirit of Major Richard Ira Bond, America's Ace of Aces and Medal of Honor recipient. As a boy of seven, he became fascinated with flying, inspired as he watched the mail planes for President Calvin Coolidge fly over the family farm to Superior. Dick was a good student and athlete who loved to hunt and fish and build model planes. He embarked on his dream of becoming a pilot by learning to fly while a student at Superior State Teachers College. When America entered World War II, he was ready to serve his country as a pilot in the Army Air Corps.Dick intended to return home and continue flying as a private pilot. After he had downed his fortieth enemy plane, he was ordered home for his safety in December 1944. Six weeks later he married his sweetheart. At his own insistence, he became a test pilot of the experimental P-80 "Shooting Star," Lockheed's first jet-engine fighter plane, in Burbank, California. He died in a crash of the P-80on August 6, 1945, at the age of twenty-four, less than six months after his wedding.Our World War II Heritage Center has been named in honor of this American hero from Poplar, Wisconsin.
These related markers are also located in Douglas County: