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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Bechtel, Paul S.



  • Existence: 1917-2003

Paul S. Bechtel was a fighter ace who served with the U.S. Army Air Forces and U.S. Air Force. He was born on March 4, 1917 in Goodland, Kansas. He attended the University of Wyoming and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. In 1939, Bechtel enlisted in the Army Air Corps and entered flight training, which he completed the following year. He was initially assigned to the 31st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field (Michigan) and was later transferred to the 12th Pursuit Squadron, 50th Pursuit Group, for deployment to the Pacific Theater in early 1942. Bechtel participated in the Solomon Islands Campaign and flew missions over Guadalcanal, the Russell Islands, Bougainville, and other areas in the Southwest Pacific. He also served as commander of the 12th and as an operations office with XIII Fighter Command.

After World War II, Bechtel remained in military service and went on to command a reconnaissance squadron during the Korean War. Other assignments included serving with the Air Force Research and Development Command (ARDC) and the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). Bechtel retired as a colonel in 1963.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

American Fighter Aces Association Oral Interviews

Identifier: 2002-02-13-OralHist
Abstract Collection of approximately one hundred twenty (120) oral histories of Fighter Aces and several non-aces, including relatives of aces, other military pilots, and military historians.

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