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Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington

Aviator / World War II Figure

Born: 4 December 1912
Died: 11 January 1988
Birthplace: Coeur D'Alene, Idaho
Best known as:

The World War II pilot made famous on TV's Baa Baa Black Sheep

Gregory "Pappy" Boyington won the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in World War II, when he was credited with downing 28 Japanese aircraft. For 12 weeks in 1943-44 he led Marine Fighting Squadron #214, the so-called "Black Sheep Squadron," in the Solomon Islands. During that time the squadron was credited with 97 confirmed kills of enemy aircraft, 26 of them by Major Boyington himself. Boyington was shot down in a dogfight on January 3, 1944 (right after claiming his 26th kill). Captured by the Japanese, he spent the rest of the war as a prisoner.  After the war ended in 1945 he returned to America as a war hero and was given the Congressional Medal of Honor he'd been awarded in 1944. Pappy Boyington's autobiography, titled Baa Baa Black Sheep, was a bestseller in 1958. In the 1970s a television series by the same name ran for two seasons on the NBC network, with actor Robert Conrad playing Boyington.

Extra credit:

Gregory Boyington got the nickname "Pappy" because, being just over 30, he was a decade older than many of his pilots... Pappy Boyington was known as Greg Hallenbeck while attending the University of Washington. According to a feature in the school's alumni magazine, Boyington "was using the name of his step-father and did not revert to his father's last name until after graduation."

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