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Tom Cleaver
910 articles

Alex Vraciu, RIP

January 29, 2015 · in News · · 10 · 1.8K

Alex Vraciu departed the ship earlier today, at age 96. He was the ranking surviving American Ace of World War II at the time of his death. I had the good fortune of meeting Alex a few times at AFAA events. I would have to rank him as one of the nicest guys I ever met, but under that nice there was steel. He was a tiger. There are now 84 American aces of World War II living, including now 23 Navy aces.

Interestingly enough, a few minutes after the famous picture was taken of Alex holding up six fingers for his score on June 19, 1944 - at the time for about an hour (until Dave McCampbell shot down 7), it was the American record - he learned that his wings had not been down and locked through the entire fight. Tough pilot in a tough airplane.…/might-famous-navy-ace/…

Reader reactions:
3  Awesome

10 responses

  1. I've seen his interview on The Military Channel (now American Heroes Channel) several times - I'm addicted to the "Dogfights" series. 🙂

    By the way, the link states " not found..." - 🙁

  2. Tom, tried the link but got a '404 Error'. Perhaps you could have another look.

  3. RIP. To an extraordinary gent.

  4. R.I.P.
    In memory of him this year, build a 1/48 Eduard Hellcat ..

  5. Blue skies, Alex.

    (I have added the said photo from Wikipedia, hope OK)

  6. RIP to one of my favouriteUS Navy aces. You need to be a Steel Tiger to be a naval aviator. To me he was the epitome of a Naval aviator. Thanks Tom for informing us of his passing.

  7. Thanks, TC, for the update. Is that Vraciu's Hellcat in the background?


  8. A true American hero and a legend. RIP.

  9. May his memory live for a hundred years! Rest now in peace Mr, Vraciu.

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