Colonel Patrick D. Fleming, USAF (USN) (1917-1955) – this former Jamestown resident and 1941 Annapolis graduate was a World War II Hellcat ace and a Navy test pilot who went to flight school in 1943. He received night fighter training at Quonset, where he met his wife-to-be Neville, daughter of retired Navy Commander Owen Bartlett of Jamestown.
Flying with VF-80 from USS Ticonderoga, he shot down 19 Japanese aircraft in only six missions, and destroyed several others on the ground. He earned the Navy Cross, 3 Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, five DFCs and four Air Medals. After the war, he served as a test pilot at Pax River. In January, 1947, General Curtis LeMay invited him to transfer to the new USAF Strategic Air Command. He flew with Chuck Yeager, and is on record as one of the pilots who flew the X-B-1 “Glamorous Glennis”, first aircraft to travel faster than the speed of sound.
Colonel Fleming died February 16, 1956 in the mid-air explosion of a B-52 bomber near Tracy, California–the first ever operational loss of that aircraft. At the time of his death he was Deputy Commander of the 93rd Bomb Wing.
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