Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jack A. Bade 1920-1963

Jack A. Bade was born on October 9, 1920, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was the only child of Charles and Gladys Bade. He moved to Elk River, Minnesota when his father accepted a job with a bank there.He attended Elk River High School where he played both football and basketball. He graduated in 1938 and attended the University of Minnesota for one and one-half years before accepting employment with Minneapolis Honeywell.He enlisted in January 1942 and volunteered for the Aviation Cadet program. He completed the course and graduated on June 25, 1942 at Luke Field, Arizona. He received both his pilots wings and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was then assigned to advanced combat training in the P-40 aircraft.In December 1942, he was assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron of the 18th Fighter Group, flying out of Munda in the Solomon Islands. He flew 85 missions, a total of 210 combat hours against the Japanese forces. During this time, he was credited with 5 aerial victories plus one probable.But his biggest achievement came on February 13, 1943. While escorting a flight of Navy bombers, his unit was attacked by a large force of enemy aircraft. In the ensuing fight, Bade's aircraft was severely damaged, rendering his guns useless. He was severely wounded from a head wound, but saw the Navy bombers under attack by a large force of enemy fighters. He dove straight into the melee, penetrating the enemy formation although his guns were jammed and succeeded in scattering the attackers, and allowing the Navy bombers to escape. For this action, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross as well as the Purple Heart.The exploits of Captain Bade (later Major) were used in comic strips and books such as "True Comics" and "Heroic Comics." He also appeared in a cameo role in the 1943 movie "Thunderbirds." In 1956, he appeared in an ad for Camel cigarettes, and in 1962, he was featured in an ad for Chase Manhattan Bank.In late 1943, Bade was assigned by the Air Corps to Republic Aviation where he acted as chief inspector on the emerging P-47 program. After being discharged in 1946, he returned to Republic and eventually became a test pilot, serving in many on-going test programs. Unfortunately, he was killed on May 2, 1963 in a mid-air collision with test pilot Don Seaver, both flying F-105 aircraft at Mach 2, over the Catskill Mountains in New York.Jack A. Bade is buried in Long Island National Cemetery in Farmington, New York.