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David W Howe


David W Howe was born on 6 February 1919 at East Hickory, Pennsylvania. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 in Toronto, Canada, and earned his wings as a Sergeant Pilot on 8 October 1942.
He transferred to the USAAF on 3 June 1943, and was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group, 334th Squadron, in September.
Flying a P-47 Thunderbolt, he downed his first enemy aircraft, an Fw-190, in February 1944. In March, flying a P-51 Mustang, he downed two more Luftwaffe planes, and on 19 May, with additional victories he became an "Ace". He had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters.
In April 1945, as a Captain, he returned to the States. He was the first pilot in the 8th Fighter Command to complete two combat tours without an abort, a total of 502 combat hours.
He left the service in August 1945 having 8.5 enemy aircraft to his credit.
He obtained a civilian commercial pilot rating and later became a test pilot with Bell Aircraft. He flew eight types of jets, including two VTOL Vertical Takeoff and Landing) types. He was the first pilot of the X-14, and also piloted the hydro-skimmer on Lake Erie.
He retired in 1981 and died of a massive stroke in May 1995.He was a candidate in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1992 he was inducted in the Niagara Falls Aviation Hall of Fame.


Units served with

  • 334th Fighter Squadron

    334th Fighter Squadron

    The 334th Fighter Squadron was the successor to No. 71 Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force when the 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. They were based at Debden Field, Essex. The "Fighting Eagles" as they were called, flew...


  • 43-6717

    P-51 Mustang
    This aircraft was assigned to the 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group in May 1944 it was the one-time personal aircraft of 1st Lt Robert Robert Hills of the 334th Fighter Squadron. It was eventually withdrawn from use three months later after...

  • 43-6774

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.

  • 44-13884

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Lost, Mech failure 6-Feb-45 crashed into North Sea - F/O William D Bates baled out KIA.

Associated Place

  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...


Event Location Date
Born East Hickory, Pennsylvania 6 February 1919
Died Erie, PA, USA May 1995

Died of a massive stroke.


Date Contributor Update
27 September 2017 13:43:56 general ira snapsorter Changes to service number

Merged with duplicate entry to include details from:
- Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

Date Contributor Update
08 September 2016 22:25:22 WD-C Mustang Changes to nickname and awards

Added nickname and awards using:

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2015 15:06:12 apollo11 Changes to biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations

Personal research & 'Eighty-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:07:08 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Son in law