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Richard Ellis Conner III


Russia evader

2 DFC's
78th FG 82nd FS . Major Richard E Conner, of Vicksburg, Miss., was hit on 21st March while strafing an airfield, during which he destroyed three jet planes. He was reported safe in Russia.

“Major R E Conner, on the 21st of the month, added to his brilliant record of 8 e/a destroyed by knocking off 3 more a/c on an airdrome deep in Germany. He was hit by flak over the drome and, with his cockpit full of smoke, made a bee-line for Russia, just making the lines and winding up in Poltava, Russia. We presume he and Lt Paul Stearns [MIA 17th March] are enjoying their vodka together.”
In May 1945 he was appointed Commanding Officer of 82nd Fighter Squadron.

Awards: DFC (OLC), AM, Croix de Guerre, WWII Victory, EAME, UN and Korean medal.

Post war: Remained in USAF serving in Korean conflict. Employed as an executive with Merrill Lynch subsequently retiring from that post.


Units served with


  • 42-26475

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 82FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 63FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF.

  • 44-72233 'Cutie'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to HQ Sqn, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Whilst strafing an aerodrome in Germany in P-51D 44-72233, the explosion of the 3rd Me262 destroyed took out the engine. Lt Col Richard E Conner managed to glide the aircraft to no-mans land east of the Oder river....

Associated Place

  • Duxford

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Duxford, now a museum and still a working airfield, was operated by the USAAF from 1943 to 1945. The base was briefly the home of the 350th Fighter Group in late 1942, but it was not until April 1943 that it became a fully American station when the...


Event Location Date
Born Warren County, MS, USA 22 January 1917

Son of Richard Ellis Jr and Carolyne Routh Mary Louise [Williams] Conner.

Lived in Vicksburg, MS, USA 1941
Enlisted Jackson, MS, USA 10 February 1941
Based Duxford 6 June 1944 – 19 March 1945

Assigned to 82FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF.

Promotion Duxford, Cambridge CB22 4QR, UK August 1944

Promoted to Captain.

Promotion Duxford, Cambridge CB22 4QR, UK December 1944

Promoted to Major.

End Tour Duty (ETD) England, UK 2 December 1944

Ended Tour Duty (ETD) 1.

End Tour Duty (ETD) England, UK 12 March 1945

Ended Tour Duty (ETD) 2.

Based Duxford 19 March 1945 – July 1945

Assigned to 84FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF.

Evaded Capture Poltava, Poltavs'ka oblast, Ukraine, 36000 21 March 1945

Hit by flak strafing an aerodrome in Germany in P-51D 44-72233 diverted to Russia, evading capture (EVD). 21-Mar-45.

Promotion Duxford, Cambridge CB22 4QR, UK 4 June 1945

Promoted to Lt Colonel.

Died Tuscaloosa County, AL, USA 14 March 1995
Buried 2 Cemetery Rd, Natchez, MS 39120, USA 18 March 1995

Natchez City Cemetery
Adams County, MS


Date Contributor Update
08 July 2018 09:31:02 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, suffix, biography, awards and events

Date Contributor Update
07 July 2018 17:25:46 Al_Skiff Changes to service number, role, awards, events, unit associations and place associations

Date Contributor Update
24 May 2015 14:02:50 Lucy May Changes to service number, biography and unit associations

Combined two entries for Richard E Conner. This entry now includes unit associations from the following source:
Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2015 11:27:07 Anne Hughes Changes to biography

Intelligence Department (0543), SO 85, Hq, AAF Sta F-357 12 May 1945 (1146),
78th Fighter Group History (0479) March 1945

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:22:29 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / EAGLES OF DUXFORD, The 78th Fighter Group in WW2 by Fry, p132