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Nicholas Megura


Nicholas Megura was born on 28 July 1920 at Ansonia, Connecticut.
He was expelled as freshman from Philips University for "high-jinx".
Later on he wnt to work at the Vought-Sikorsky plant, taking up flying on the side. He joined the RCAF and, when the opportunity arose, he transferred to the USAAF in July 1943. He was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group, 334th Squadron. Nine months later, having flown P-47s and then P-51s, he had destroyed 16 enemy aircraft and damaged six, 15 of them in a two-month period.
On his third trip to Berlin, flying his P-51 "Ill Wind?", "Cowboy", as he was known, contemplated two previous trips over Germany where he had scored double enemy aircraft destroyed. As the Mustangs approached rendezvous with the bombers five Me-109s dove down at them from out of the sun. Megura latched onto one of them, which he quickly dispatched, and immediately had to break away with another one on his tail. He evaded and went to the rescue of a straggler B-17 under attack by several 109s. He zeroed in on one and the German was forced to bail out of his plane.
He then fell in behind a 109 which was circling in the landing pattern of an airfield. No one seemed to notice him as he was about to shoot the 109 with its wheels and flaps down. However, he was suddenly recognised and was attacked head-on by three more 109s. He avoided them and fired at the landing 109, damaging it as it hit the runway. He then headed for home.
He soon encountered a Ju-88, which he fired on with his only operative gun, knocking out one of its engines before he ran out of ammunition. He returned to Debden having scored another double destroyed and two others damaged. A month later he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for this and the two previous actions.
His combat career ended on 23 May 1944. The Group intercepted 30-plus enemy aircraft which were also engaged by several P-38s. Megura, while attacking three Me-109s, had his fuselage raked by gunfire from a P-38 that mistook him for a 109. His coolant system was damaged, causing him to consider bailing out. However, he could not open his canopy and began nursing his stricken plane toward Denmark. He then daringly nursed it even further toward Sweden, where he belly-landed at Kalmar Aerodrome and was immediately interned.
On 28 June he arrived back at Debden, but due to diplomatic relations he was no longer permitted to fly combat, so he was assigned administrative duties.
Megura continued in the Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He died 4 November 1988.
He had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, and the air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.


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...


  • 43-6636 'Ill Wind?'

    P-51 Mustang
    One time personal aircraft of Captain Nocholas "Cowboy" Megura. ...

  • 43-7158

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. One time aircraft of Major Winslow Sobanski. While attacking a group of Bf109’s with some P-38’s, A/C was mistaken for an Bf109 and damaged in combat by a P-38. With glycol emitting from his engine, pilot Capt...

  • 41-6404 'Ill Wind?' 'Old Red Ass'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Thunderbolt P47C-5-RE 41-6405 'Old Red Ass' assigned to 334th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF, pilot Lt Nicholas Megura. Re-assigned to Raymond C 'Bud' Care. ...

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 Ansonia, CT, USA 28 July 1920
Interned Kalmar, Sweden 23 May 1944
Died 4 November 1988


Date Contributor Update
06 March 2015 17:45:26 apollo11 Changes to biography

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

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2015 17:44:15 apollo11 Changes to nickname, highest rank, biography, awards, events and place associations

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

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:20:32 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Fighter Aces of the U. S. A., Mustang Aces of the Eighth Air Force and Aces and Wingmen II; Who's Who in the Eighth Air Force and/or Biographical Directory Command & Staff Officers Eighth Air Force 1942-45; MACR 5288 / MACR 5288 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list