Following are the details we have gathered on pilots who were qualified as “Aces” (five or more planes shot down) in the P‑38. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge, but if you find any errors or omissions, please let us know!

Search for Ace by last name:

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The Better Known P-38 ACES

Richard Ira "Dick" Bong

Richard Ira Bong
“Dick Bong”

24 SEP 1920 / 6 AUG 1945
America’s “Ace of Aces”
40 aerial victories

"Happy" Jack M. Ilfrey

Jack Ilfrey
“Happy Jack”

31 JUL1920 / 15 OCT 2004
Major…er Lieutenant…er Colonel! United States Army Air Corps

Cadet Thomas B. McGuire Jr.

Thomas B. McGuire, Jr. “Tommy McGuire”

1 AUG 1920 / 7 JAN 1945
38 aerial victories


– Col. Al Griebling, USAF Ret.

Some pilots are good.
Some pilots are great.
The best of them all
Flew the P-38


There are many excellent books written about WWII Aces. Here are a few of the best below.

Happy Jack's Go Buggy book
Buy Now on Amazon

Happy Jack’s Go Buggy: A Fighter Pilots Story

Schiffer Military Aviation History

Undoubtedly one of the finest stories of aerial combat that has ever been written.  You will fly through the skies with eight-victory fighter ace, Jack Ilfrey, in his P‑38 and thrill to the stories of aerial combat.  Join him on his incredible trip to becoming one of America’s first WWII aces.​

P-38 Lightening Aces of the ETO/MTO book
Buy Now on Amazon

P-38 Lightning Aces of the ETO/MTO

Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No 19

Written by one of our expert P-38 Association Historians, John Stanaway, this book traces the careers of many unknown Aces within the USAAF in the European Theater. Some 17 pilots scored 7 or more kills in the P-38 in the ETO/MTO.

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Steve Blake

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Photo Recon

Photo Recon

P‑38 Photo Reconnaissance planes (called F‑4s and F‑5s) and their pilots were the eyes of the AAF. Their only weapon was a camera. (Note the camera opening on the side in the photo below.)The F‑4 was the first version of the unarmed Lightning, and the F‑5 was an...



Origins of the Women Airforce Service Pilots Ferrying Division Air Transport Command Up until three o'clock in the afternoon of May 29, 1941, there was no organization of any kind in American military aviation to provide for either the delivery of planes or air...