Dolph Overton, III
Dolph Overton, III shot down five Communist fighter aircraft to become an ace in only four
days during the Korean War. Born in Andrews, South Carolina, he began flying at a young age
and had had soloed in a Piper J-3 Cub by age 16. He attended The Citadel in Charleston,
South Carolina. When World War II broke out, Overton joined the Navy, where he served as a
seaman for the duration of the war. After returning home, he earned an appointment to the
United States Military Academy. Upon graduating from West Point in 1949, he opted to become
an Air Force pilot and began jet fighter training shortly thereafter at Williams Air Force
Base in Arizona.
He earned his wings in 1950,and was assigned to the 31st Fighter Group at
Turner Air Force Base, Georgia. While there, Overton qualified in the Republic F-84
Thunderjet. He flew in the Air Force's first mass trans-Atlantic fighter deployment from
the United States to England later that year. In 1951, he volunteered for duty in Korea and
completed 102 missions in the Thunderjet flying ground attack missions from Taegu AB while
assigned to the 49th Fighter Bomber Wing. After just six months of combat, Overton became a
flight commander and subsequently the Operations Officer of the 8th Fighter Bomber
Squadron. During this tour, he also served as a forward air controller directing close air
support for allied troops on the front lines.
Additionally, he assisted Navy carrier pilots
on the USS Valley Forge with their close air support programs. He volunteered for a second
combat tour and joined the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing at Suwon AB, Korea. Overton
transitioned to the North American F-86 Sabre and on 21 January 1953, he destroyed two
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15s. He downed another MiG on the 22nd, one on the 23rd, and another
on the 24th to become a jet ace in the record time of only four days. For his service,
Overton was awarded nine air medals, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Distinguished Service Cross, and three Silver Stars.
After the armistice went into effect, Overton resigned from the Air Force.
Since that time
he has owned and managed several companies that operate worldwide. Through the years, he
continued his love of aviation. The Carolinas Aviation Museum named their Aviation Library
in his honor. He has also collected and restored more than 90 vintage airplanes, donating
most of them to various museums and institutions around the world. Overton considers
himself "semi-retired" and lives in North Carolina with his wife, Sue. They have four
daughters, a son who is a pilot for Federal Express, and ten grandchildren.
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From 21 to 24 January, 1953, Dolph Overton, III officially downed five MiG-15s,
earning the coveted status of "ace," in what has been described as the hottest
streak in USAF history. Flying the F-86E Sabre, serial # 50-631, "Dolph's
Devil", he downed two MiGs on the 21st, one on the 22nd, another on the 23rd,
and one more on the 24th. For his service, Overton was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, three
Silver Stars, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, and nine Air Medals.