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Archives at The Museum of Flight

John W. Mitchell Fighter Ace Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2002-02-13-384
The collection relates to the military career of United States Army Air Force fighter pilot and ace John W. Mitchell, who served during World War II and the Korean War. Materials pertain largely to World War II, although there are some post-war items as well. It includes photographs and a photograph album with images depicting assorted military personnel, including Mitchell; activities, including reunions; and aircraft, including the P-38, P-59, and F-86. Other images depict post-war scenes of when Mitchell was CO at Goodman Air Force Base and Korean sites and people. Additional materials include assorted newspaper clippings about Mitchell, from World War II activities to his passing, and many documents related to his career, including documentation about the Yamamoto mission and its controversial outcome.


  • 1941-1995


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research but has not been fully processed. Access to the collection may be limited or may require additional processing time. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


4 Cubic Feet (2 bankers boxes and 1 oversize box)

Biographical Note: John W. Mitchell

John William Mitchell (June 14, 1915 – November 15, 1995) was an officer of the United States Air Force, a flying ace, and the leader of Operation Vengeance, the mission to shoot down Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

John W. Mitchell was born on June 14, 1915 in Mississippi to Noah Boothe Mitchell and Lillian Dickinson Mitchell. In 1934 he graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Economics. On April 9, 1934, Mitchell enlisted in the United States Army. After completing basic training he entered the Aviation Cadet Program on November 10, 1939, receiving his commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corps and his pilot wings on July 26, 1940. During World War II, Mitchell served as pilot with the 55th Fighter Squadron, 70th Pursuit Squadron, and 70th Fighter Squadron. He attained ace status with 11 confirmed aerial victories during World War II. In April 1943, while stationed in Guadacanal, Mitchell was made the leader of Operation Vengeance, the American military operation to kill Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Mitchell married Anne Lee Miller (d. 2008) around 1939-1940. Mitchell died on November 15, 1995 in San Anselmo, California.


Collection materials and various online resources.
Historical Note: American Fighter Aces Collection The American Fighter Aces Association (AFAA) was founded in 1960 to recognize the 1,450 combat pilots that received a special distinction of becoming an ace by destroying five (5) or more hostile aircraft in air-to-air combat. This includes aces in both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam. The AFAA lists its objectives and purposes as "to preserve and promote the distinguished heritage of the American combat fighter Ace; to preserve the spirit of loyalty, fellowship and responsibility that motivates Fighter Aces; to support the understanding of and demand for sound, progressive aerospace weapons systems which will guarantee the security and peace of the United States; to encourage and stimulate young men and women to enter the aerospace field; and to sponsor educational programs designed to increase and broaden public knowledge of aerospace technology." The AFAA sponsors an academic scholarship fund for youths who are primarily descendants of American Fighter Aces and fosters youth programs encouraging patriotism. Additional programs include award programs, such as the annual presentation of the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award at the United States Air Force Academy and for outstanding fighter pilot "lead-in" trainee graduates from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. The AFAA is affliated with The Museum of Flight (TMOF), the proud home of the AFAA.

Source and Further Reading:

Custodial History

The John W. Mitchell Fighter Ace Collection is a sub-set of the American Fighter Aces Association (AFAA) Collection, which came to The Museum of Flight from the Champlin Fighter Museum in Mesa, Arizona when it closed in 2003.


No further accruals are expected.
Guide to the John W. Mitchell Fighter Ace Collection
Completed - Level 1
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st edition

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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