George “Ratsy” Preddy opened his account while flying P-40s in defense of Darwin with the 9th Pursuit Squadron, 49th Pursuit group. He was credited with two shared against Japanese aircraft, but was hospitalized after a mid-air collision with another P-40. Upon recovery, he was eventually assigned to the 487th FS, 352nd FG flying P-47 Thunderbolts from Bodney, England. Preddy was credited with two victories in the Thunderbolt, and earned a Silver Star for breaking up a Luftwaffe attack against a formation of B-17s.
In April 1944 the 352nd converted to the P-51 Mustang and Preddy began to score steadily. He scored four on a single mission on 18JUL44. His best day was on 07AUG44, downing six Bf-109s during a single mission.
Preddy was rose to command the Group’s 328th Fighter Squadron as a Major. During the Battle of the Bulge the Squadron was operating from a forward airfield located at Asche, Belgium. On Christmas day he led a flight of ten Mustangs on a patrol. Preddy downed two Messerschmitts, then pursued a lone Fw 190D flying over the front at low altitude. Two other P-51s joined Preddy as they pursued the Focke Wulf at treetop height. The aircraft crossed over American lines and were engaged by an M3 halftrack of the 430th AA Battalion mounting quad .50 machine guns. All three P-51s were hit. Two Mustangs were downed, including Preddy’s. He did not survive the crash.
George Preddy was credited with 26.83 aerial victories, making him the eighth top-scoring U.S. ace.
“Cripes A’ Mighty”, piloted by Major George Preddy,328 FS, Bodney, Norfolk, Dec. 1944. Airfix kit, Eagle Strike decal sheet IP7208.