Sunday, November 15, 2015

Overstreet and Mad Jack

Snapshot of WWII military Pilot Bill Overstreet Jr in the cockpit of his plane. 357th Fighter Group, 363rd Fighter Squadron of the United States Army Air Forces. Photo from Warbird News. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
WWII military Pilot Bill Overstreet Jr.
357th Fighter Group, 363rd Fighter Squadron of the United States Army Air Forces

Captain William Bruce "Bill" Overstreet Jr. (April 10, 1921 – December 29, 2013) enlisted in the military after Pearl Harbor and was accepted into the Air Corps to train as a fighter pilot.
 WWII veteran, pilot Bill Overstreet, in his 90s, wearing his flight jacket and patches and his military cap. Overstreet, in an Interview, explaining that his commander protected daring pilots who pushed the limits of flying.  Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Bill Overstreet, interviewed in his 90s.
Overstreet, interviewed while he was in his 90s, credited his piloting skills to the unusual teaching methods of his military instructors and leaders. 
"The instructor would flip the plane upside-down and then cut the engine."
"(They would) take a flight of four to the Golden Gate Bridge and do loops around it. . . . Our legal officer, told me years later that he was able to hold up action on bushels of charges."
Portrait of WWII pilot Bill Overstreet, in uniform, flashing a dashing grim while holding a pipe in his teeth. Story of Overstreet ditching ammunition to bring back a bay full of vodka to fellow soldiers in Italy,  Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
After being stationed overseas, Overstreet had more near misses and some incredible successes.
"I had a freak accident. . . While over enemy territory, a burst of flak cut my oxygen line. . . . The next thing I knew, I was in a spin, engine dead since the fuel tank it was set on was dry. . . . I had no idea where I was, but remembered where I had been headed so I reversed it." Dodging trees, he was able to land on the coast of France after passing out for 90 minutes. 
Overstreet was also assigned to flying supplies to the French Resistance while picking up downed airmen from behind enemy lines.
Artist Lenn Krenzier's rendition of WWII Pilot Bill Overstreet in his P51 Mustang chasing a German ME 109 under the Eiffel Tower in a 1944 epoch skirmish. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Overstreet, in his P-51 Mustang, chasing a German ME 109 under the Eiffel Tower in a 1944 epoch skirmish.
However, he was best known for a dogfight in Paris. In 1944, while escorting bombers, the escort was met by German fighter planes. Overstreet hit one of the German's engines and the pilot headed into the city for the protection of heavy anti-aircraft artillery.
Overstreet followed and the German pilot aimed his plane at the Eiffel Tower. The German flew under the tower with Overstreet following. 
WWII Pilot Bill Overstreet and his P-51 Berlin Express, the plane he flew under the Eiffel Tower while chasing a German pilot. Bill Overstreet's quote describing the flight. 'It's plenty of room to go under the Eiffel Tower. But it makes a good story.' Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Overstreet stands by his P-51 Berlin Express,
the plane he flew under the Eiffel Tower.

"A lot of people don’t believe I did it. I don’t blame ’em but I got back to Leiston with barbed wire under the tail and cat tails on the wing tips"
Pastor Jeff Clemmons, a combat veteran of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and a close friend of William Overstreet added, "The Paris citizenry actually rose up in defiance of the Germans for a period of three days, celebrating that victory."
WWII Pilot Bill Overstreet, smiling at a 2012 Greenbrier Air Show, wearing his pilot jacket. Quote about his flight under the Eiffel Tower while chasing a German pilot. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Overstreet at a 2012 Greenbrier Air Show

In 2009, Overstreet was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Ambassador Pierre Vimont. He dedicated his award to, "my comrades who never made it home."
WWII Pilot Bill Overstreet, 88-years-old, receives the Legion of Honor in 2009. 'I didn’t do anything special. We were a team.' Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Overstreet, 88-years-old, received the Legion of Honor.
Overstreet died on December 29, 2013. He was 92.


Lieutenant Colonel "Mad Jack" Churchill 
WWII Lt. Mad Jack Churchill, Royal Military Academy graduate. Photo of "Mad Jack" leaping over crevices on a Scottish Cliff training WWII Commandos. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Photo of "Mad Jack" training commandos in Scotland.

"Mad Jack" Churchill graduated from the Royal Military Academy in 1926. He worked as a male model, a professional bagpiper, a newspaper editor in Kenya, and a movie extra demonstrating his champion archery skills in several films. He also toured across India on his Zenith motorcycle crashing his bike into a water buffalo.
"Mad Jack" Churchill, pulls back a bow while competing in the 1939 Archery World Championships in Oslo, Norway. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
John "Mad Jack" Churchill, competing in the 1939 Archery World Championships in Oslo, Norway.
When WWII started, Mad Jack Churchill equipped himself with a longbow, bagpipes, and a basket-hilted Scottish broadsword. During an encounter with the enemy in Paris, Churchill instructed his unit wait for his signal to attack, his signal being a fatal arrow shot into a German Sargent.
Lieutenant Colonel Churchill, standing behind WWII American sharpshooters, monitoring target hits. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Lieutenant Colonel Churchill, training American troops.
He volunteered for the Commandos and while leading a raid in Norway, leaped from his position playing “March of the Cameron Men” on his bagpipes. He received the Military Cross and Bar. 
Lieutenant Colonel Churchill looks down the barrel of a captured coastal defense gun during the Vaagso raid, his sword at his side. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
"Mad Jack" Churchill inspects a captured coastal defense gun, his sword at his side.
He also received the Distinguished Service Order after leading his unit into Sicily and capturing a German observation post. Having lost his sword during hand to hand combat, he walked back to retrieve it and told a disoriented American patrol they needed to change direction because he wasn't coming back "for a bloody third time" to rescue them.
Photo of soldiers in a 1941 WWII beaching exercise. Jack Churchill (far right) leads his unit, sword in hand. Other soldiers jumping from a boat while carrying weapons and ladders to shore. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Jack Churchill (far right) leads his unit, sword in hand, during a training exercise in October, 1941.
In 1944, he was captured in Yugoslavia, flown to Berlin for interrogation and then transferred to a concentration camp. Churchill and a Royal Air Force officer crawled through a drainage ditch and attempted to walk to the Baltic coast where they were recaptured and sent to Austria.
Eventually he dropped his shovel and walked away from work detail. He transversed 150 miles through the Alps, “liberating” vegetables, until finding a U.S. Armored column. 
"Mad Jack" Churchill, leading a division of British soldiers during a Landing exercise. A group of WWII British soldiers stand behind Churchill and another leader while Churchill, wearing a barrette and sporting a very British clipped mustache, gestures in the distance with his blackthorn cane. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
"Mad Jack" Churchill, leading a landing exercise and gesturing with his blackthorn cane.
After WWII, Churchill was posted to Palestine where he co-ordinated the evacuation of 700 Jewish doctors, students and patients from the Hadassah hospital.
Later, he served as an instructor at the land-air warfare school in Australia. While commuting home from work, he would throw his briefcase out of the train window, landing the case into his back yard so he wouldn’t have to carry it home. 
"Mad Jack" Churchill, later in his life, playing the bagpipes at a memorial service. Photo from the late 1950s, Churchill stands by a stone memorial, flanked by another WWII veteran. Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
"Mad Jack" Churchill, playing the bagpipes at a memorial service.
Overestreet mastered surfing and after returning to England, he was the first man to ride the River Severn’s five-foot tidal bore.
During his retirement and well into his 80's, Churchill refurbished steamboats to motor on the Thames and rode in several motorcycle speed trials. 
Cartoon of Churchill carrying his sword into battle, from Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company for the play 'Mad Jack and The Severn Bore' Written and directed by John Bassett featuring Churchills' quote, 'Any man who goes into battle without his sword is not properly dressed.' Overstreet and Mad Jack and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
A cartoon from Jack and The Severn Bore, a play written and directed by John Bassett, preformed at the Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company.
"Any man who goes into battle without his sword is not properly dressed." - "Mad Jack" Churchill 

Churchill's obituary included his description of a good military leader
"An assault leader should have a reputation which would at once demoralize the enemy and convince his own men that nothing was impossible."
Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, wears his uniform while attending the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He is tearful while he is holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War. Overstreet and Mad Jack. marchmatron.com
To Overstreet, Churchill, the veterans I've been lucky enough to work with, and all the other men and women who did a very difficult job, thank for your service.

#pilot #WWII #ace #Veteran

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