Thomas Buchanan McGuire Jr. was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey back in 1920. He graduated from Sebring High School in Sebring, Florida. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He left after his third year to enter the U.S. Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet in 1941.
He reported to the flying school in Corsicana, Texas for further training. He was commissioned a second lieutenant receiving his pilot winds in 1942. His first combat assignment was later that year in the Aleutian Island. In 1943, he was sent to the Southwest Pacific with the 9th Fighter Squadron based in New Guinea. During august 18-19 he shot down 5 aircraft of the enemy making him as ace in two days. By December of 1943 he was promoted to captain and in 1944 became the commanding officer of the 431st Fighter Squadron. That same year he was promoted to major. In December 25-26 of 1944, he downed seven Japanese fighter aircraft over Luzon, Philippines. In January of 1945 he was killed in combat while engaging enemy fighters in the Negros Island.
What you may not know about Thomas is that he was the second most decorated American fighter pilots in the Second World War. McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey is named in his honor.
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