|Major General Levi R. Chase|
Major General Chase in the cockpit of
Photo by Robert Capa
General Levi R. Chase (USAF), one of the first Army Air Corps. aces of WWII, was credited
with 12 air-to-air victories and is one of only three U.S. fighter pilots to be credited
with victories against all three Axis countries.
Flying the P-40 and P40-L, he was the leading ace in the northwest Africa theater while flying with the 33rd. Pursuit Group. He also flew the P-51 Mustang later in the war and was credited with downing two Japanese Oscars with that aircraft.
After returning to the U.S. for a year in mid 1943, Chase was deployed to Burma with the 2nd Air Commando Group based at Cox's Bazaar, India. He led several missions with the Second Air Commandos and is credited with having planned and led one of the longest fighter raids of the war. He later commanded the First Provisional Fighter Group where he downed the two Oscars.
Chase entered civilian life after the war but was recalled to active duty in April, 1951 to serve in Korea where he commanded the Eighth Fighter-Bomber Wing flying F-80s and F-86s.
From 1952 to1964, General Chase held several command and senior staff positions in the U.S. and Germany as well as Okinawa and Taiwan. In 1964 he commanded the 15th and 12th Tactical Fighter Wings respectively and led the 12th to Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in Vietnam. The 15th and 12th TFWs were the first fighter wings to become combat ready with the F-4C Phantom II.
Prior to General Chase's return to civilian life in November of 1973, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff Operations for the Tactical Air Command and Deputy Commander of the Ninth Air Force. He was appointed Commander of the Ninth Air Force shortly before his retirement after 33 years of dedicated service.
General Chase flew a total of 512 combat missions in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
My Thanks to Dr. Thomas E. Chase for providing this information.
Detailed information and additional photos can
be found at the Major General Levi
R. Chase Web site
a site established by General Chase's son, Dr. Thomas E. Chase, in honor of his father.