Joe Foss's last flight over Guadalcanal
25th January 1943: The last day for 'Foss's Flying Circus' - the record breaking 'ace of aces', soon to be awarded the Medal of Honor
Captain Joe Foss had already made a name for himself on Guadalcanal. At the height of the Japanese onslaught on Henderson Feild in October 1942, he was in action on a daily basis - and for a short period was shooting down planes at a rate of almost one a day. Between his arrival on October 9th and the 15th November, he shot down 23 Japanese planes.
He survived several narrow episodes when his plane was hit - and one forced landing in the sea and a night on the island of Malaita after natives in dugout canoes rescued him.
One of the Zeros, failing to see the P-38s, pulled in front of them so close the first two passed him. As he wiggled his wings and looked, the third riddled him at such close range it must have put powder burns on the back of the Japs neck.
In December 1942 he succumbed to Malaria and was sent to Australia to recuperate. Returning in January 1943 Foss shot down three aircraft on 15th January - so becoming the first American fighter pilot to match the record of the famed Captain “Eddie” Rickenbacker, who claimed 26 German planes over France in 1918.