Flying Ace George Preddy, Christmas Casualty December 25, 2016 On December 25, 1944, Greensboro native George E. Preddy Jr., the top P-51 Mustang ace during World War II, was shot down by friendly ground fire. Preddy was a barnstormer pilot before the war. He tried three times to become a naval pilot but was rejected because of health problems. The Army Air Corps accepted Preddy, placing him on a waiting list for a cadet class. In 1940, he joined the National Guard, and he received his wings in December 1941. In July 1942, Preddy was involved in a midair collision during training. Following a three-month recovery, he returned to the United States, and was eventually assigned to a squadron that was sent to Great Britain. He shot down his first plane in December 1943. In April 1944, his squadron received the P-51 Mustang, and Preddy became the 487th’s temporary commander. He downed six planes on a single day in August of the same year, earning himself a Distinguished Service Cross—the nation’s second highest award—in the process. Preddy was shot down during the Battle of the Bulge while flying in his plane, the Cripes A’Mighty, in pursuit of a German plane. He is buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery in France. For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.