What does it take to become an "ace"?
And has anyone ever been stripped of that status?
- By Rebecca Maksel
- AirSpaceMag.com, April 07, 2008
Library of Congress, courtesy NASM (SI 2001-11634)
(Page 2 of 2)
As for whether any pilots have lost their "ace" status-the answer is no, according to Daniel Haulman, chief of the organizational histories branch of the Air Force. "I am not aware of any case in which an Air Force (or Army Air Forces) member who was listed by the Air Force with at least five aerial victory credits had his total officially reduced to less than five, removing his ace status." However, he continues, "There have been many cases in which someone claimed to be an ace but was never recognized by the Air Force as an ace because there was no documentation to confirm that the award of a fifth aerial victory was ever officially made."
A well-known case in point: Lee Archer served with the 302nd Fighter Squadron during World War II and was awarded four aerial victory credits (AVC) during his service. He did not claim a fifth AVC at the time, although he did years later. Unfortunately, notes Patsy Robertson, a historian with the Air Force Historical Research Agency, there isn't any official documentation to validate his claim.
What's required? According to Air Force Instruction 84-105, the following will validate an AVC: (1) An official order awarding it, and (2) A victory credit board report from the time showing an award of a credit.
You hear that, Ace? Get your proof and paperwork in order.