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Myron E. Pedersen
P-38 Lightning Pilot in the South Pacific (SOPAC)

U. S. Army Air Force, 347th Fighter Group, 339th Fighter Squadron

Myron Edward Pedersen was born on March 19, 1921 to parents Mr. and Mrs. L. F. Pedersen in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. Nicknamed "Mike". He graduated North High School and was a star wrestler. He was employed at a dairy farm and resided with his parents at 3838 Ninth Street in Des Moines.

Wartime History
On April 3, 1942 Pedersen enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as a private in the Air Corps with serial number 17065484. He attended preflight school at Santa Ana, California. Next, primary flight school at Blythe, California and graduated advanced flight training at Luke Field in Arizona as part of Class 43-C. He earned his wings and was commissioned as a s 2nd Lieutenant with serial number O-740542.

First Tour of Duty
In early 1943 sent overseas to the South Pacific (SOPAC) and assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 347th Fighter Group (347th FG), 339th Fighter Squadron (339th FS) "Sunsetters" as a fighter pilot flying the P-38 Lightning in the Solomon Islands.

Second Tour of Duty
Pedersen began a second tour of duty in late 1943 and was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He continued flying combat missions in the Solomon Islands and against Rabaul.

On February 4, 1944 took off piloting a P-38 Lightning on a mission to escort B-24 Liberators on a bombing mission against Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul. Over Tobera Airfield, Pedersen claimed a Zero shot down, his first aerial victory claim that was confirmed in the 347th Fighter Group intelligence report by Captain James D. Downie, Group Operations Officer and a certificate for a confirmed aerial victory issues on February 17, 1944. By 1945 promoted to the rank of Captain.

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Aerial Victory Claims
Pedersen was credited with a total of 1.5 aerial victories. Pedersen was also unofficially credited with 7 probable aerial victories. The first over New Georgia. Four over Bougainville. Two over Rabaul.

Victory Date Location Aircraft Notes on claim
½   Rabaul A6M Zero Half credit for an aerial victory claim.
1 02/04/44 Tobera A6M Zero First aerial victory claim.

For his World War II service, Pedersen earned the Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters. He was also recommended for the Silver Star.

Pedersen remained in the U. S. Air Force (USAF) and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel from Homestead AFB working on procurement and contracting. After retiring from the military, he worked for the Dade School District doing procurement work until he retired.


Pedersen passed away from cancer in 1985 at age 63. He was cremated and has a grave marker at Woodlawn Park Cemetery South in Miami, FL.

Milre Pedersen (wife)
Sharon Gold (daughter)
Mike Pedersen (son)
Kevin Pedersen (son)

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Myron E. Pedersen
Diary of Myron Edward Pedersen (339th Fighter Squadron, First Tour of Duty, Solomon Islands 1943)
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Pedersen, Myron E. page 148 (PDF page 155), Alphabetical by theater of operation (SWP): Pedersen, Myron E.: 02/04/44 page 353 (PDF page 359) Chronological List: Pedersen, Myron E. 02/04/44 page 415 (PDF page 420)
Certificate Myron E. Pedersen February 4, 1944 enemy aircraft 1 Zero (Zeke) B-24 cover mission at/near Tobera, February 17, 1944
201 File Myron E. Pedersen "Recommendation for the award of the Silver Star Medal" September 16, 1944
Des Moines Tribune "2 Des Moines Pilots Tell of Air Victories" March 1, 1944 page 1
Des Moines Tribune "Two Des Moines Pilots Hunted Japs Together" November 2, 1944 page 21
The Register "Obituary Myron "Mike" Pedersen"
FindAGrave - Myron Edward Pedersen (grave)
ESPN - PinKings Ep. 3: The Straight Arrow (19:45 episode about Kevin Pedersen, son includes details about his father Mike Pedersen)
Thanks to Mike Pedersen for additional information

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