Forget Tom Cruise. There are so many real storied, scary, incredible moments in the history of combat in the air from duels with the Red Baron to Butch O’Hare’s harrowing single-handed defense of an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. That said, our selection for the craziest moment of dogfighting history ever goes to Lieutenant Bill Overstreet piloting his P-51 Mustang over Paris.
Who is Bill Overstreet? From an interview with Bill, we know he was born in Clifton Forge, Virginia, on April 10, 1921. When the U.S. entered World War II in 1941 he was working as a statistical engineer for Columbia Engineering and attending Morris Harvey College. After Pearl Harbor, he volunteered to join the Army Air Corps as a fighter pilot. As part of the 357th Fighter Group, 363rd Fighter Squadron, Overstreet flew a P-51 Mustang, the “Berlin Express” escorting long-range bombers on raids over Europe.