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Edwards Park
35th Fighter Group, 41st Fighter Squadron
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Background
Born September 21, 1917, Mr. Park grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and Peterborough, New Hampshire, where his family had a summer home. He graduated Yale University, he was on a rowing team that won the 150-pound-and-under class at England's Henley Regatta. Nicknamed "Ted".

Wartime History
On July 14, 1941 Park enlisted in the U. S. Army and was initially assigned to the Corps of Engineers then transfered to the Army Air Force and graduated from flight school. During the Pacific War, he was assigned to the 41st Fighter Squadron in New Guinea. He was assigned P-39 Airacobra Number 74 nicknamed "Nanette", and often flew this aircraft while based at 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby, Tsilli-Tsilli Airfield, Nadzab Airfield and Gusap Airfield.

He is credited with a single aerial victory. On March 4, 1944 took off piloting a P-47D Thunderbolt and ambushed a Ki-61 Tony of the 68th Sentai, claiming it shot down. The Japanese pilot bailed out and Park could see his face as he passed and chose not to strafe him in his parachute. His victory is described in both his books.

He eventually achieved the rank of Captain. Edwards Park, O-792055 flew 199 combat missions: 415.35 combat hours with 494.35 hours in the SWPA. Besides flying combat he served as Squadron Operations Officer, Acting C.O. and Flight Commander. He earned The Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Cluster. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds suffered on the ground during a Japanese air raid on Nadzab Airfield on November 10, 1943. During the war, he married Australian Jean Speirs Park.

Postwar
Park worked at National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine. He authored two books about his experiences as a fighter pilot in New Guinea: Nanette: Her Pilot's Love Story originally published in 1977 and reprinted in 1989 and Angels Twenty: A Young American Flier a Long Way from Home published in 1997. He also co-authored The Art of William S. Phillips: The Glory of Flight. Park died on February 12, 2005.

Relatives
Lisa Park (daughter)

References
NARA "World War II Army Enlistment Records" Edwards Park
Edwards Park Obituary February 20, 2005
USAF Aerial Victory Credits Edward Park March 4, 1944
Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units And Their Aces 1931-1945
Japanese records confirm that Ki-61 Tonys from the 68th Sentai took off from Wewak on a mission over Lae and two pilots were shot down: Lt Kazue Yamamoto and WO Kinji Hirahara.
Thanks to Lisa Park, Edward Rogers and Richard Dunn for additional information

Last Updated
May 22, 2017

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