Based on victories reported, below is a top ten list of the United States fighter pilot aces from WWII.  No doubt, they US had a number of excellent fighter pilots.  However, had the outcome of the war been determined on fighter pilot victories alone, the Germans would have taken the war hands down.  Though various circumstances did contribute to their incredibly high numbers, they were far superior in kills than any other country or countries combined.  Their top ace – Erich Hartmann – had more victories than the top ten US pilots combined:  352 vs. 325.


Richard Bong

In all, Germany had a total of 195 top flying aces in World War II, compared to the United States 25.  Germany aside, the Japanese are next on the list regarding total victories scored, followed by the British and Commonwealth aces.  However, the United States fighter pilots did tally an impressive number of victories throughout WWII, and no doubt, played a pivotal role in the success of the Allies.



The top 10 list below actually lists 11 pilots as the #10 and #11 aces each scored 25 victories.


Name                              Branch                     Total Victories             Aircraft


Richard Bong             US Army Air Force                 40                      P-38 Lightning

Thomas McGuire       US Army Air Force                 38                     P-38 Lightning (Killed in action)

David McCampbell     US Navy                                  34                      F6F Hellcat

Gregory Boyington     US Marine Corps                   28                      F4U Corsair

Francis Gabreski         US Air Force                           28                      Spitfire / P-47 Thunderbolt

Robert Johnson           US Army Air Force                28                      P-47 Thunderbolt

Charles MacDonald    US Army Air Force                 27                      P-38 Lightning

Joseph Foss                  US Marine Corps                    26                      F4F Wildcat

George Preddy              US Air Force                           26                      P-51 Mustang (Killed in action)

Robert Hanson             US Marine Corps                   25                      F4U Corsair (Killed in action)

Lance Wade                  Royal Air Force*                    25                      Spitfire (Killed in action)

*Note:  Lance Wade is the only American to serve exclusively in any foreign air force.


When considering top aces of World War II, victories alone do not always reflect overall performance.  Guidelines throughout the countries varied and a pilot’s word was sometimes the only confirmation.  The list above is strictly based on total victories reported.


The United States may have paled in comparison to the Germans overall victory performance in World War II, but they left an impressive mark on American history.  Even though these men are ranked possibly fourth among all the countries for victories in WWII, these fighter pilot aces fought long and hard; and the top ten aces listed here is reflective of the dedication of the American armed forces and their fighter pilots.


12 Responses to Top Ten United States Fighter Pilot Aces from WWII

  1. Phil Rogers says:

    Why doesn’t Major John T Godfrey appear in the list of top 10 Aces as I understand he had something in the region of 36 victories?

  2. Leonard Kyelberg says:

    Much has already been said about the difference in numbers of kills, between American & German pilots of WWII.

    However, I think it is important to note that American pilots were rotated home for war drives and new pilot training after 25 missions.

    Where the Germans were not. They flew until they were either killed, captured or, the war was over.

  3. John1000 says:

    Are there any museum in the world where Ulrich Rudel’s knights cross of the iron cross is exhibited?

    • alon2392 says:

      I have not been able to find an answer to your question, but have forwarded it on to our historian to see if he can provide any further information. Thank you for visiting our website.

    • alon2392 says:

      From what our historian can find, John, the medal is still in the hands of his family. I am sure it is priceless both in value and in sentiment.

  4. William Hammel says:

    trying to locate pocket novel on army world war two greatest fighter missions by army pilots I have the one on navy pilots published by ballantine war books I believe the book was published in 1958 for the army pilots thank you


    • alon2392 says:

      I’ve presented your request to our historian to see if he has any ideas on locating this pocket novel. Will post any information he provides. In the meantime, anyone else have any ideas?

    • alon2392 says:

      Our historian provided the following: Ballantine provided fantastic books. I have a very large collection of those. I’ve seen them sold on the web and used book stores.

  5. Jim Wilds says:

    What really happened to Tommy McGuire?

    • Richard Kilburn says:

      According to Yenne’s book “Aces High” he went down trying to do an inverted maneuver with external tanks still attached. The text claims he was trying to tie Bong. If I recall, his plane was found sometime in the last 20 or so years.

  6. evan geilich says:

    The number of alleged kills by the Germans in WWII has to be wildly inflated otherwise there would not have been an American plane left in the sky. I believe the German kills is greater than all the American fighetr planes in Europe during WWII.It sure is stange that in the last year of the war (June 6, 1944 to May 8, 1945) there were no German fighter planes left.

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