Cmdr. Dean S. “Diz” Laird, USN

Air & Space Smithsonian - - In The Museum -

Laird is the only U.S. Navy ace to have scored com­bat vic­to­ries in both the Euro­pean and the Pacific the­aters of World War II. “I found both Ger­man and Ja­panese [pi­lots] to be well trained,” says Laird. “They were wor­thy op­po­nents. I think that my train­ing had a lot to do with my suc­cess. I was also very for­tu­nate to have 20/10 vi­sion, so I was of­ten able to iden­tify air­craft and po­si­tion my­self for aerial en­gage­ment and com­bat be­fore the en­emy knew I was there.”

Dur­ing his child­hood in Loomis, Cal­i­for­nia, Laird read pulp mag­a­zines, in­clud­ing . “Look­ing back at

Fly­ing Aces it now, I guess I al­ways had dreams of fly­ing fighter air­craft like the guys I read about did,” he says. “I was proud to be in the Navy. But most of all, I en­joyed be­ing able to sleep un­til six in the morn­ing. On the ranch where I grew up, I had to get up ev­ery day at 4 a.m. to milk cows.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.