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AUTHOR TO SPEAK ON WISCONSIN FIGHTER PILOTS- November 9 at 6:30 Seymour's "Ace" George Doersch will be featured.

One of them embraced his nickname "Screwy Louie" and had a version of it painted on his P-38 fighter plane. Nine of them came from the Milwaukee metro area. The best of them was a shy farm kid from the tiny northern town of Poplar. Also included is Osborn resident and Seymour grad George Doersch.

They are fighter pilots from Wisconsin who fought in air battles in World War I through the Vietnam War. Their stories comprise a book called "Badger Aces: Wisconsin Fighter Aces 1917-1972," written by Mike O'Connor, a retired librarian from Wausau, who has been a military aviation researcher for decades.

"I've been interested in military aviation for as long as I can remember," O'Connor said, and he's been researching and writing about pilots and warplanes for 50 years. And nothing has held his fascination more than the fighter pilots - those swashbuckling, fearless fighters who, even though they worked in squadrons and teams, ultimately were alone in their planes and in battle. In the 20th century, O'Connor explains in the book's preface, more than 60,000 American fighter pilots engaged in combat. But, he says, only a total of 1,447 became aces, shooting down or destroying at least five enemy aircraft in combat. The book details the flying exploits of the 44 men from Wisconsin. One of them is Col. George Doersch, a double ace, who is credited with 10½ kills. Born and raised on a farm in Osborn south of Seymour, he graduated from Seymour High School in 1938. Following is a brief excerpt from the book describing Doersch's action late in World War II.

"Doersch's final ground kill was another shared kill, a FW-190 on April 9th destroyed on Gernering, an airfield near Munich. Streaking across the airfield at low level on a second pass, he damaged a Heinkel 111 bomber. However, debris thrown up by the exploding German aircraft crippled his P-51D. Twenty miles south of Mannheim, his Mustang gave up the ghost and he belly landed. Rescued by troops from General George Patton's 3rd Army, Doersch was taken to Patton's headquarters and met the legendary warrior in person."

O'Connor will speak upstairs in the Seymour Community Museum at 6:30, Thursday evening, November 9th. The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.

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