Walker 'Bud' Mahurin | Air ace in two wars, 91

Posted: May 16, 2010

Walker "Bud" Mahurin, 91, the Army Air Forces' first double ace in Europe during World War II who went on to serve in the Pacific and later became a POW after being shot down during the Korean War, has died.

Col. Mahurin, a retired Air Force officer who suffered a stroke in October, died Tuesday at his home in Newport Beach, Calif., said his stepdaughter, Valerie Miller.

"The name is familiar to almost everybody in the Air Force," said Doug Lantry, a historian at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

"Bud Mahurin was the only Air Force pilot to shoot down enemy aircraft in the European theater of operations and the Pacific and in Korea," Lantry said. "He was known as a very courageous, skilled, and tenacious fighter pilot."

A native of Michigan, Col. Mahurin enlisted in the Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet in September 1941.

Flying a P-47 Thunderbolt, he scored his first aerial victories in August 1943 by shooting down two German fighters while escorting B-17 bombers. That October, he became an ace - signifying that he had downed five enemy aircraft.

Flying a P-51 Mustang, he scored his only aerial victory in the Pacific, in January 1945.

Col. Mahurin, who eventually was shot down by ground fire and spent hours in a life raft before being rescued, ended the war with 20.75 aerial victories. (The fraction indicates he shared the victories with other pilots.)

He was serving in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force when the Korean War started. He went on to score 3.5 aerial victories in Korea, flying an F-86 Sabre.

After being shot down by ground fire in May 1952, he spent 16 months as a prisoner of war. - Los Angeles Times

comments powered by Disqus