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David Fox - FU Hero

Posted by borg on November 1, 2008

David Fox


There are thousands of stories about "little" people who made big contributions and heroic efforts during their military service. FU stumbled upon an unknown hero who did a kickass job over the skies of Europe and gave America a boost in the new jet age. We’re proud of his service and skill and want to thank him for his contributions and sacrifices to the United States and our developing air power.

David Fox. Returning to home base from a mission in Europe in February, 1945, David Fox, a dentist from Memphis, and his fellow pilots of the 391st fighter squadron flew in formation. 

Then, an unknown plane broke that formation.
The men looked at the plane for a moment, and "we realized it was a German plane," recalled Fox.
Fox turned around his P47 Thunderbolt, came down on the German's tail and shot out both engines. The German plane fell, landing in a river. "I couldn't follow him because there were bullets shooting at us."
It was a time when both Axis and Allies were rushing to put jet-powered military planes into production. The plane Fox forced out of the sky was an Arado 234, the first operational German jet-powered bomber.
Fox's target that day became the first German jet to be shot down and recovered by Allied Forces in World War II.
Fox later learned the plane had been taken back to the United States where engineers studied it. "The Germans were far superior to us with rocket planes and operational planes. I think they even set up factories in mountains."
Fox was interviewed by the Red Cross and the Armed Forces radio. "Everyone was very pleased we had the plane," Fox said.
Now, 62 years after the end of WWII, Fox has still not seen the plane he shot down. "I've got the picture of it, and I'd love to see it if I knew where it was," Fox said. Years ago, Fox saw a plane of the same model in an exhibit in Chicago, but he does not know if it was the one he knocked from the sky.
Fox, now 84, lives in Nashville. He recently moved from Germantown. "I hated to leave Memphis, but all my family lives in Nashville," Fox said. Fox is now retired and relaxes, plays lots of golf and visits with his three children and six grandchildren.
Before going to war, Fox had gone to Snowden Elementary and Middle School, Central High School, a year at Sewanee, and in 1941 switched to The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he studied engineering.
Fox received his orders to join the military on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and fought until the end of WWII in 1945.
As part of the 9th Air Force on the Normandy coast, (the 366th Fighter Group and the 391st Squadron), Fox and his colleagues provided air support for the troops, following the forward soldiers, Fox said.
Fox flew in Belgium and in Munster, Germany, as well as other parts of Europe.
Fox cleared 95 missions by the war's end. "We did what we could to survive," Fox said.
Once home, Fox studied two years of chemistry in an accelerated dental school program, graduating in three years instead of four. Fox opened a practice in the Highland and Poplar area and worked for 40 years. Fox also flew in the Tennessee Air National Guard until 1951.
Ted Fox, younger brother of David Fox and a Hot Springs Village, Ark. resident, was too young to join the military during WWII. By 1945, Ted Fox was only 15.
"It was really a big deal with the armed forces when David shot down the plane. In the jet age, I think it is important to know there are real heroes. This is their last decade, and I hate to see that generation pass without recognition," Ted Fox said.
"He is my hero," Ted Fox said of his brother. "All those guys are my heroes."

By Laura Fenton


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