Duane Beeson – Decorated WWII Flying Ace

Kim B. Wright, MD, leads Laser Precision Spine Surgery, which has locations spanning Anchorage, Wasilla, and Fairbanks, and is online at http://www.lpspine.com. With a passion for flying, Dr. Kim B. Wright undertook a flight along the transcontinental route from Alaska to Florida in 2009. He was inspired by his cousin Duane Beeson, a decorated World War II fighter pilot who established a reputation as an U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) ace by shooting down 23 enemy airplanes.

Originally from Boise, Idaho, Beeson enjoyed boxing and football as a high school student, and graduated in 1939. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and transitioned to the USAAF the following year. Having assumed command of a fighter squadron in March 1944, he was shot down while strafing a German airfield the following month. During that mission, he shot down three German planes. Taken prisoner, Duane Beeson was liberated by the Russians in April 1945. He passed away from a brain tumor in 1947, only a month after returning home and marrying, and was buried as a hero at Arlington National Cemetery.

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