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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
Walker "Bud" Mahurin
Col. Mahurin was born in Dowagiac, MI, then lived in Ann Arbor until he was adopted by a family from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He studied engineering at Purdue University and became a licensed civilian pilot in 1939. Mahurin enlisted in the Army Air Forces in September, 1941.
Commissioned 2nd Lt., he was deployed to England and assigned to the 63rd Fighter Squadron, 56th (Wolf Pack) Fighter Group, flying the P-47 Thunderbolt. Promoted to Captain and Flight Leader, Mahurin became an ace with five victories in October, 1943, and the first American double ace in the European theater in November, 1943. A triple ace and promoted to Major, he was shot down in March, 1944, but returned to England two months later with the help of the French Resistance.
Mahurin was next sent to the Pacific Theater as Commander of the 3rd Fighter Squadron in the Philippines flying the P-51 Mustang. He ended World War II with 20 ¾ victories and had bailed out in both theaters.
During the Korean War, Mahurin flew F-86 Sabres with the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing and was given command of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing. He is credited with 3 ½ MIG 15s destroyed. Mahurin was shot down by ground fire and spent 16 months as a prisoner undergoing psychological and physical torture. He was released three months after the end of the war.
He retired from the Air Force in 1978. Mahurin became a Vice-President of Rockwell International assisting with the Apollo program. Using his experience, he helped establish current Air Force survival courses. Among his many awards are Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (8), Purple Heart, Air Medal (7), Presidential Unit Citation, British Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Belgian Croix de Guerre with palm. Mahurin died in 2010.