Heroic People Who Deserve to be Way More Famous
Heroic People Who Deserve to be Way More Famous

Heroic People Who Deserve to be Way More Famous

Khalid Elhassan - March 31, 2021

Heroic People Who Deserve to be Way More Famous
The Fw 190 that Bruce Carr stole and flew back to base. Large Scale Planes

2. This Airman Pulled Off One of the Most Extraordinary and Heroic Escapes of WWII

Bruce Carr found the Fw 190’s starter lever, spent half an hour building up his courage, then pulled it. Nothing happened. German starters worked the other way around. He eventually pushed it forward instead of pull it back, and the fighter’s BMW motor roared to life. Carr dared not risk his escape by wasting any time taxing to and lining up on the runway. Pouring on full throttle, he raced across a corner of the airfield, between two airplane hangars, then over the heads of sleepy and befuddled Germans. Upon reaching Allied territory, ground troops opened fire on the American pilot’s Fw 190.

To avoid friendly fire, Carr flew just above treetop at 350 mph. After flying about 200 miles, he reached his airfield. Unable to deploy the landing gear or communicate via radio, Carr made decided to make an immediate belly landing before his own airfield’s defenses blasted him out of the sky. Military police surrounded the crashed Fw 190, and refused to accept Carr’s word that he was American. It was finally sorted out when the group commander arrived, and identified his missing pilot. Carr’s heroic escapade made him the only Allied pilot to leave on a mission in a P-51, and return in an Fw 190.

Heroic People Who Deserve to be Way More Famous
Modern replica of Bruce Carr’s P-51. Aircraft Resource Center

1. More Heroic Deeds After a Heroic Escape

After his return, Bruce Carr was promoted to the first lieutenant and was granted a well-deserved leave. However, his heroic escape was not the end of his heroic deeds, and his wartime exploits were far from over. On April 2nd, 1945, First Lieutenant Carr led three other American fighters on a reconnaissance mission, when they spotted 60 German fighters above them. Despite the 15:1 odds against his flight, Carr immediately led an attack. Within minutes, he and his companions downed 15 Germans. Carr personally shot down two Fw 190s, three Bf 109s, and damaged a sixth plane.

Heroic People Who Deserve to be Way More Famous
A WWII Distinguished Service Cross. Military Medals and Collectibles

That made Carr the European theater’s last ace-in-a-day (somebody who shot down 5 or more enemy planes in a single day). It also earned him a Distinguished Service Cross, the country’s second-highest award for valor. By war’s end, Carr had flown 172 combat missions, scored 15 confirmed air-to-air kills, several more unconfirmed victories, and numerous ground kills. He flew another 57 combat missions during the Korean War, and 286 more in Vietnam, earning a Legion of Merit and Three Distinguished Flying Crosses. He retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1973, died of prostate cancer in 1998, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Air Force Magazine, February 1st, 1995 – Valor: Thanks, Luftwaffe

Ancient Egypt Online – Queen Ahhotep I

Angers, Trent – The Forgotten Hero of My Lai: The Hugh Thompson Story, Revised Edition (2014)

Australian Dictionary of Biography – Armfield, Lillian May (1884-1971)

Aviation Geek Club – The Story of Bruce Carr, the P-51D Pilot Who Left on a Mission Flying a Mustang and Returned to Base Flying a Luftwaffe FW190

Black Past – Deacons For Defense and Justice

Cobb, Charles E. – This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible (2015)

Cracked – Unsung War Heroes Who Deserve Their Own Movies

Encyclopedia Britannica – My Lai Massacre

Face 2 Face Africa – The Deacons; the Black Armed Christians Who Protected MLK, Civil Rights Supporters Before Black Panthers

Florida Times Union, October 12th, 2012 – Veteran of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Portrayed in ‘We Were Soldiers’, Dies at 92

History Collection – Lenny Kravitz’s Heroic Uncle

History Daily – The Story Behind: A Member of the French Resistance Smiling at a German Firing Squad

Musee de la Resistance – Georges Blind [French]

Nation, The, June 17th, 2004 – By Any Means Necessary

New South Wales State Archives & Records – Tilly Devine and the Razor Gang Wars, 1927 – 1931

Straw, Leigh S. L. – Lillian Armfield: How Australia’s First Female Detective Took on Tilly Devine and the Razor Gangs and Changed the Face of the Force (2018)

Together We Served – Carr, Bruce W. (DSC), Colonel

University of Notre Dame, Australia – Tackling Sydney’s Organized Crime, Armed With Just a Handbag

Wikipedia – Basil L. Plumley

Wikipedia – Hugh Thompson Jr.