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In January 1943, during WWII, Bong (1920-1945) became an "ace" with five confirmed victories in just over a month.
In April 1944, he recorded his 27th victory to pass Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I ace, with 26 victories.
After two years of combat including more than 200 missions, Bong had 40-recorded victories and seven probable victories in his P-38 Lightning.