Capt. David Wilhelm, 97, holds a photo of himself at the age of 23, on Oct. 24, 2016. Over a long career he received many accolades, finally garnering the title of “American Fighter Ace”.
Months into a three-year deployment during World War II, young Army Air Corps pilot David Wilhelm was stationed in Morocco. He hadn’t yet seen combat and was eager to reach the European front.
“Life continues in the African barren lands and what with the heat, flies, no flying and no mail, we are none too pleased with the whole set-up,” he wrote to his parents on Aug. 8, 1943.
During his three years of service, Wilhelm became a storied pilot, flying 148 missions and achieving five aerial victories, he said. He became a Fighter Ace, one of the military’s highest accolades for pilots. Roughly 1,300 American pilots earned that title during World War II, but today less than 70 are still living.
Now Wilhelm, 97, and 14 other Aces will be honored Nov. 5 at the annual Spreading Wings Gala at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.