Ace George Preddy of Greensboro: Cripes A’Mighty

Preddy with his plane. Image from the 352nd Fighter Group Association Archive.

On August 6, 1944, Greensboro native George E. Preddy Jr., the top P-51 Mustang ace during World War II, downed six planes on a single day, earning a Distinguished Service Cross—the nation’s second highest award—in the process.

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 named his the Cripes A’Mighty. That same year he became the 487th’s temporary commander Fighter Squadron.

While flying in pursuit of a German plane during the Battle of the Bulge, Preddy was accidentally shot down by friendly ground fire. He is buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery in France.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR 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 and Twitter.