Mahurin, an ace fighter pilot who was a war hero in Fort Wayne, died
Tuesday at 91.
Walker "Bud" Mahurin was an ace fighter pilot and a war
hero from Fort Wayne, the kind of person kids everywhere wanted to
He was shot
down twice once over France and later in Korea and escaped both times.
He was responsible for 21 kills from the cockpit of his P-47 Thunderbolt
in the European Theater of World War II and one more in the Pacific.
Later, in Korea, he downed four Communist MiG fighter jets.
Side High School graduate died Tuesday at his home in Newport Beach,
Calif., after months of declining health. He was 91.
up at 927 Wildwood Ave. and never forgot his adventures traipsing
across the city, said Joan Mahurin, his wife of 40 years.
flying at a young age at Smith Field and later joined the Army Air
friend Denny Sherman said he wrote to Bud Mahurin when Sherman was
just a 12-year-old boy. Mahurin, then 22, returned to Fort Wayne from
the Army one day and paid Sherman a visit.
with his mother's car and picked me up at St. Andrews School, and
I thought he was God," Sherman said.
not. But a hero to Fort Wayne? Certainly.
that the old downtown department store Wolf & Dessauer plastered
a larger-than-life photo of him in a corner window on Calhoun Street
for all to see.
After he was
shot down in France during World War II, he escaped to the United
Kingdom with the help of the French Resistance. When he returned to
Fort Wayne, the city threw a parade for him down Calhoun Street, Sherman
to go right back to Europe and continue to engage in dogfights with
Nazi pilots and defend American bombing raids. But the military brass
was afraid his work with the French Resistance would make him even
more of a target.
So they shipped
him off to the Pacific, where he spent the rest of the war flying
a P-51 Mustang over Burma and China.
In the Korean
War, he flew more than 60 combat missions and claimed 3 1/2 kills
in his F-86 Sabre jet fighter.
he recounted, according to a statement from the 51st Fighter Interceptor
Wing, had him diving after an enemy jet that broke formation in MiG
Alley in January 1952.
a Communist MiG fighter with machine-gun fire but had to retreat when
others came to its aid.
ground, I found that several of the 51st pilots has seen the action
I was in and watched the MiG I tangled with begin to smoke and saw
the pilot eject himself, he recounted in the military statement. One
of the smoke trails was my MiG. I got that Commie after all.
But in May
of that year, Mahurin was making a strafing run against a Communist-held
railroad when ground fire struck his jet and forced him to eject.
He was captured by Communist forces and held until September 1953.
He left the
military not long after being freed, retiring as a colonel. He later
worked for North American Aviation in California.
Mahurin's stepdaughter, said he was modest about his achievements
in war and talked about them only when asked.
to talk about his family, his three children and seven grandchildren.
and his cats and dog, she said.
flying until 2004, when a heart-valve transplant sidelined him.
But that didn't
seem to dampen his spirits much, Miller said.
one of the nicest, most down-to-earth guys you'll ever meet,"
be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia with full military