William Johnston Hovde

Hovde, William (Billy) Johnston
Born: April 4, 1917 Crookston, MN


Billy Hovde graduated from US Military Academy January 19, 1942 and completed pilot training December, 1942. Assigned to 358FS/355FG in May, 1943 as a Captain and flight leader, he went to war with the Group in July, 1943 when they sailed to England.

Hovde downed a Fw`190 on 22 February, 1944 near Munster and followed with two more 190’s on March 18, 1944. Hovde became the Group’s eighth ace on July 19 when he shot down a 109 near Augsburg.

His biggest day came when he led 12 Mustangs from the 358FS on a bounce against 100+ combined 109’s and 190’s over Berlin, breaking up an attack against 2AD B-24’s and personally shot down five and shared another, receiving the DSC for his action.

Hovde commanded the 358FS once in July before end of his first tour and again in August 1945. Before he returned home he would also command the 357FS to become the only fighter pilot to command two squadrons in the 355th. Billy Hovde was one of the most decorated 355th pilots along with Henry Brown, Claiborne Kinnard, Royce Priest and Bill Cullerton, and finished combat ops as the number two air ace behind Henry Brown.

Hovde went to war again as a Lt. Colonel and squadron CO in 4th FIW in March 1951 where he shot down a MiG-15 to raise his total air score to 12.50. He was promoted to Colonel in 1955 and retired from the USAF in June 1967.

Final score was 12.5 destroyed (one Korea), 1 damaged in the air, plus 2 destroyed and 2 damaged on the ground

Awards: WII DSC, SS, DFC (5), AM (8) Distinguished Unit Citation; Korea- DFC, AM
Aircraft assigned; P-47D 42-8368 YF-I Ole, P-51B 43-6928 YFI Ole II, P-51D 44-14531 YF-I Ole III, P-51D 44-14541 Ole IV, P-51D YF-I 44-11200 YF-I Ole V, P-51-D YF-L 44-73155 YF-I Ole VI, P-51D 44-15494 WR-I Ole VII, P-51D 44-73294 OS-I Ole VIII

Written by Bill Marshall,
author "Angels, Bulldogs and Dragons - History of the 355FG in WWII"

Contributed by Bill Marshall, October, 2006. Unverified.

The text is copyright Bill Marshall 2006. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy or reproduce this biography without the express written consent of Bill Marshall.

List of all P47 Pilots:
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Pilot Name Biography Summary
John Abbotts P-47 transition followed at Pocatello, Idaho and Greenville, Texas after which he was assigned to the 56th Fighter Group in England. When the news of his arrival reached Berlin, Hitler retired to his bunker with his cyanide capsule and revolver. Eva found the news equally depressing.
Asa A. Adair He returned to the States in August of 1944 after participating in the invasion "D" Day. He flew P-63's, P-51's, F-80's, T-33's, F-84's, T-38's, P-47's in numerous assignments during the following twenty years in in, Japan, U.S.A. and Europe before retiring after twenty-six years of Active Duty.
Edward B. Addison The 507th Fighter Group, equipped with P-47N's, won the Presidential Unit Citation for destroying 32 Japanese aircraft in the air on one mission to Seoul, Korea. The average flying time for raids to Korea and Japan would be 7 to 9 hours flying time. In a total of 31 months, the 507th not only provided top cover for B-29's, but also dive-bombed, napalm-bombed and flew low-level on strafing missions.
Levon B. Agha-Zarian It is rumored that he, took his primary training on a flying rug. He flew Spits, briefly, in England, but as the, war moved to the East, he was sent to India as a Sgt. Pilot and first saw action from Ceylon, flying the Curtiss P.36, the Brewster Buffalo, and the Hurricane. At this point he might have opted for the rug! This was at the time of the fall of Singapore and the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse.
George N. Ahles Posted to A-20 light bomber squadron Barksdale Field, Louisiana. . Group moved to Hunter Air Base Savannah, Georgia. Qualified for Pilot training November 1940. Entered Aviation Cadets January 1942. Presented wings November 1942 class of 42-J. Married Mary Louise while in Advanced Pilot Training at Craig AFB, Selma, Alabama, September 1942.
Roy J. Aldritt Shortly after the group moved to France he ran into some unseen flak and was forced to make a nylon descent behind the lines; some evasion and a lot of luck had him back with his unit in 24 hours.
Eugene J. Amaral After graduation from Stonington High School he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in December 1942 and was called to active duty in March, 1943. He received his wings and commission at Spence Field, Georgia as a member of the Class of 43-C.
Talmadge L. Ambrose Flew 84 missions thru VE Day, was downed by 22mm ground fire over Siefried Line. He destroyed 11 enemy aircraft, 9 known confirmed in air and on ground, including 4 FW 190-D's in one afternoon over Hanover, Germany, April 8, 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 17 man, Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Pacific Theatre and European Theatre Meda1s with 5 Battle Stars and Unit Citation Medal.
John C. Anderson After P-47 transition he was assigned to the 406th Fighter Group, 512th Fighter Squadron. (E.T .0.) He flew 56 missions through January, 1945 destroying supply routes, bridges, and railroads; he also flew close support missions with the ground forces, with attacks on tanks, artillery and enemy positions.
William Anderson It was not always flak,two ME-109's beat the hell out of me one day. The central controller called me and said "Basher-Red Leader do you have contact Bandits," I replied, "I sure do, I'll bring them over the field in 3 minutes, they're chasing me home." Got all the usual medals including two Belgium and two French but one I'm most proud of is the Silver Star -it is the greatest.
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