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George W Rarey


George Rarey served as a fighter pilot with the 379th Fighter Squadron of the 362nd Fighter Group. He was a popular pilot who painted nose art on up to 30 different aircraft of the squadron. On 27 June 1944, he was Killed in Action when flak exploded near his aircraft.

He is buried in Normandy American Cemetery. He left behind his wife Betty Lou and son Damon, who he never got the chance to meet. His son, Damon, later published a book full of his father’s wartime sketches and cartoons entitled “Laughter and Tears.”

His life story can be read here:

There is a memorial dedication to him where he died at Villers- Bocage, France.


Units served with

  • 362nd Fighter Group

    362nd Fighter Group

    The Group trained in P-47s and moved to England in November 1943. Arriving earlier than many other Ninth Air Force fighter groups, the pilots main occupation was escort work for heavy bombers. The Group's first mission on 8 February 1944 was one...

  • 379th Fighter Squadron


  • 42-75465 "Damon's Demon", "Archie and Mehatibel"

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Personal aircraft of George "Dad" Rarey, 379th Squadron's main nose art artist until his death (KIA in another aircraft, P-47 42-75042). Aircraft was lost in a collision on June 17th, 1944 while being flown by Lt. Richard Gordon.

Associated Place

  • Headcorn

    Military site : airfield
    Built as an RAF Advanced Landing Ground (ALG), work on the airfield began in early 1943. It was improved and made ready for USAAF use by adding more aircraft standings and temporary buildings. Accommodation was provided in the form of tents and...


Event Location Date
Entered service from New York, USA 1942

Exact date not yet known

Died 14310 Villers-Bocage, France 27 June 1944

Plot F Row 14 Grave 25


Date Contributor Update
25 August 2021 14:03:25 TanteMu Changes to nickname

Rarey, Damon: "Laughter and Tears". Vision Books Intl., 1996
ISBN 10: 1565500571
ISBN-13: 978-1565500570

Date Contributor Update
01 March 2017 17:48:10 Lucy May Changes to role, biography, events, unit associations, place associations and media associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:11:18 AAM AAM ingest

9th Air Force Roll of Honor (IWM in liaison with Ninth Air Force veterans and group associations, American Battle Monuments Commission, and Buddies of the Ninth Association) / Gianneschi history, Mr V J Lewis, Mrs L S Chamberlain (niece)