WWII Ace To Be Enshrined In Utah Aviation Hall Of Fame

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WWII Ace To Be Enshrined In Utah Aviation Hall Of Fame

Postby p51dfltln » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:43 am

Ex-Fighter Pilot Flew 76 Combat Missions Over Europe
Retired air traffic controller Alden Rigby flew P-51 Mustangs over Europe during WWII. He's a decorated war hero who earned the Silver Star -- the third highest award given "for heroism in the face of the enemy." Now, he will be honored as the 21st inductee in the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame.

Major (retired) Rigby was scrambled the morning of New Year's Day in 1945 when the German's launched a massive, last-ditch air attack against sixteen Allied air bases. He and other pilots in his squadron made it to the runway when they were swarmed by 50 to 60 enemy fighters.

Rigby told KSL TV in Salt Lake City, "That's a fighter pilot's nightmare to be caught on the ground. Our chances were slim and none. We took our chances and got in the air."

Rigby and his mates turned their slim chances into a major victory by repelling the attack, but the outcome was never sure until it was nearly over. "It was going to be each man for himself. There's no way we could stay together," said Rigby.

He said he fired at the nearest fighters as soon as he could. In an awe-inspiring display of piloting skill aerial marksmanship, Major (retired) Rigby shot down four enemy fighters during the 24-minute airborne melee.

He and his squadron's 12 fighters downed 24 enemy aircraft without losing one of their own.

In the self-effacing way of most of his generation, Rigby takes little credit for himself saying, "We had the best training. We had the best equipment to fly. And we had support from the home front."

After WWII, Rigby served in the Utah Air National Guard and flew saw aerial combat again while flying fighters during the Korean War. Following his retirement from the Guard, he worked with the FAA for more than 25 years as a controller and supervisor at Salt Lake International Airport.

Major(retired) Alden Rigby -- one of 20 nominees -- will be inducted in the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame at the Hill Aerospace Museum on Memorial Day this year.

When he was Lt Rigby (487), his P-51D was s/n 44-15629 (Eleen & Jerry) HO-R

Congratulation to the Major - and thanks for your service.

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Postby Dduck » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:04 am

Let's hear it for Maj Alden Rigby! I'm honored to have met him.

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Postby yt » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:24 pm

I had the HONOR of meeting this gentleman too. As 99% of all the fighter pilots from WWII I've met, he embodies the humbleness of "The Greatest Generation" to use Tom Brokaws words...

<S>! Maj. Rigby!
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Postby sd » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:52 pm

Huge (S) Sir!
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Postby Todzilla » Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:54 am

Congratulations Alden! I feel honored to know you and I'm still amazed at what you and your generation did then.
Last edited by Todzilla on Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby embee » Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:16 am

Good show :D and thank you for your autograph i wished i had been able to have made last years reunion to meet you and the rest of the crew. i have had the honour of speaking to your son Kevin.

im hoping to be there this year, i have a funny feeling our Princess Elizabeth is being shipped over??........

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Postby dewolf » Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:32 am

<S> Maj. Rigby!
Happy trails..................
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