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The father of Preddy & Ray Littge

Discussion in 'Oslo American School' started by Mike, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. Mike Administrator

    I just stumbled across this short biography of Captain Ray H. Littge (originally published here by his childhood school district), the father of George "Preddy" & Ray (Jr.) Littge who attended the Oslo American School around 1960:

    2004 Perryville High School Distinguished Alumnus

    Capt. Ray H. Littge - 1942

    Captain Ray H. Littge (deceased), class of 1942, is best remembered as Missouri’s top-ranking fighter pilot and one of the foremost in the nation during World War II with an impressive 91 missions and 400 combat hours. He is credited with 23 ½ enemy planes destroyed, 10 ½ in the air and 13 on the ground. Littge is also credited with shooting down three "buzz bombs" over the English Channel, although those were not included in a pilot’s total. Buzz bombs were the common name for Hitler’s V-2 rocket bombs which were used to terrorize London. That score made him the third top pilot in his group, the top ace from the state of Missouri and one of the best fighter pilots in the nation.

    His exploits earned him the Distinguished Service Cross (second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor) "For extraordinary heroism in action"; the Silver Star for gallantry in action on two specific occasions; the Distinguished Flying Cross; and the Air Medal with 15 clusters and five Battle Stars.

    On one combat mission, he was shot down over German-occupied France by enemy anti-aircraft fire, but he evaded capture, connected with the French Underground, and returned to England 12 days later.

    He scored his first aerial combat victory on his 46th mission, flown on Nov. 27, 1944, engaging two ME-109’s in two separate dogfights and shooting them both down.

    His Silver Star was received following his group’s heroic defense of its aerodrome near Asch, Belgium, where they had been moved to support ground troops during the Battle of the Bulge.
    On New Year’s Day, the Luftwaffe, taking advantage of bad weather, sent 115 Fulke Wolff 190s (dive bombers) to destroy the 487th Mustang Squadron on the ground. Littge was one of only 12 pilots to get his plane off the ground, shooting as they took off.

    Although they were outnumbered 10 to one and although most of the battle took place less than 3,000 feet off the ground, the Americans did not lose a single plane. They managed to destroy 23 of the German aircraft before the invaders turned and ran. Later, Littge was also one of the few pilots to engage and defeat an ME-262, an experimental German aircraft soon to be known as a jet.
    He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism in the assault on the Plattling Aerodrome. During the attack, in which he was leading the Red Flight, his plane’s oil tank was hit with most of the oil draining away, one of his guns was shot out, two electrical lines and the manifold pressure lines were hit and one-and-a-half feet of his left wing tip was lost to flak. Littge still made seven passes, destroying six aircraft on the ground and raising his total to 23 ½ victories.

    Capt. Littge was born on October 18, 1923, at Altenburg, the son of the late Henry and Martha (Ahner) Littge. He attended Altenburg High School 2 years and was graduated in May, 1942, from Perryville High School. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on July 1, 1942, and on Jan. 19, 1943, was inducted at Jefferson Barracks. Littge was commissioned second lieutenant on December 5, 1943. He was sent overseas on May 3, 1944, and assigned to the Eighth Fighter Group based in England, later flying out of fields in Belgium and Holland.

    Following his outstanding service overseas, Littge returned home on May 7, 1945, and served at Santa Ana, California; Perrin Field, Texas; Long Beach, California; Memphis, Tennessee; and Muroc, California, where he flew F-80 jet planes.

    He was married to Helen Fischer on November 25, 1945, and they had two sons, George Preddy Littge and Capt. Ray H. Littge, II (deceased). Ray II was killed stateside in a McDonnell F-4 Phantom jet while in the line of duty.

    Captain Littge was discharged in December, 1946, but was called back to service on March 17, 1947, to Dow Air Base in Bangor, Maine, to train with a jet fighter group. In November, 1948, he was sent to Hamilton Field, California, where he served as operations officer and taught pilots to fly the F-84 Thunderjet.

    He was killed on May 20, 1949, near Maupin, Oregon, while enroute to participate in an air show at Coulee Dam, Washington. A faulty oxygen supply is thought to have caused the death of the 25-year old pilot.

    For those who didn't know them or haven't heard the family history, Capt. Littge was a WWII fighter ace who died in a jet fighter accident in 1949 (see above). George "Preddy" Littge was named after an ace in the same unit by the name of George Preddy, who was shot down by allied ground fire in (I believe) 1944. Had he not met an early end, George Preddy probably would have been the top ranking ace in the European theater by the end of the war.

    Capt. Littge's widow remarried another WWII fighter pilot (different unit, not an ace) by the name of James R. Starnes. Their daughter, Cherry Starnes, also attended OAS. I located Mr. Starnes several years ago. Maryl Sellman talked to him by phone & put us in touch with Cherry. Preddy is still alive; Ray Jr. died about 30 years ago.

    Also note the bolded line above: We knew that Ray, Jr., had died accidentally but not on active duty in an F-4 Phantom.

    A few links:

    Photo of Capt. Ray Littge (http://www.352ndfightergroup.com)

    Another Capt. Ray Littge photo
    George E. Preddy biography & photograph (http://www.acepilots.com)

    George Preddy biography (Wikipedia)

    Google for George Preddy (there's plenty more)
  2. Mike Administrator

    From Wikipedia:

    Notable pilots of the 352d include top scoring P-51 aces Major George Preddy and Col. John C. Meyer, Captain Donald Bryan, Lt. Robert "Punchy" Powell, Capt. John "Smokey" Stover, Capt. John Thornell, Capt. William C. Miller, Capt. Raymond Littge and Capt. William T. Whisner.
  3. Mike Administrator

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