Harold E. Comstock
Harold E. Comstock
Harold Elwood “Bunny” Comstock was a World War II fighter ace in the 56th Fighter Group and a career fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. After a test flight of the P-47 Thunderbolt on 13 November 1942, Republic Aviation issued a press release on 1 December 1942, claiming that he and fellow pilot Lt. Roger Dyar had exceeded the speed of sound.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2009
    Age 88
    Harold Elwood Comstock died at the age of 88 on 3 April 2009.
    More Details Hide Details Command pilot
  • FORTIES
  • 1968
    Age 47
    During the spring of 1968, Comstock had another tour in Vietnam as the 7th ABCCC “Cricket” commander and directed numerous missions in support of the Battle of Khe Sanh.
    More Details Hide Details After retirement, Harold Comstock and his wife, Barbara, returned to Fresno, California and subsequently, built a home in Auberry, California. He took an active interest in genealogy and became a member of the Mayflower Society; he was also a Freemason and a Shriner. Later, he served on the Fresno County Planning Commission for six years.
  • 1965
    Age 44
    On 15 November 1965, Comstock was flying the second of two North American F-100 Super Sabres that approached Landing Zone X-Ray with instructions to drop napalm.
    More Details Hide Details The napalm from the first aircraft landed too close to American lines and resulted in American casualties. Comstock was about to release his load of napalm on the assigned area when a quick call instructed him to break off. If he had dropped the napalm on the target as instructed, it would have killed Hal Moore, Joe Galloway, Basil Plumley, and numerous other soldiers of the 7th Cavalry. This battle, in the Ia Drang Valley, is detailed in the book and movie We Were Soldiers Once... And Young.
    While assigned to Cannon AFB, Lt. Col Comstock commanded the 481st Tactical Fighter Squadron which was deployed to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, in June 1965.
    More Details Hide Details On this tour, Comstock completed 132 combat missions and the squadron flew numerous combat sorties in support of the besieged troops at Plei Me and the Battle of Ia Drang Valley.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1945
    Age 24
    After two combat tours and 136 missions, Comstock returned to the U.S. in January, 1945.
    More Details Hide Details Following World War II, Major Comstock had the following assignments:
  • 1944
    Age 23
    His last two victories were on 23 December 1944.
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    Comstock was promoted to Major on 17 September 1944.
    More Details Hide Details In support of Operation Market Garden, Major Comstock led the 56th Fighter Group on a disastrous mission that had been ordered to go “at all costs” to provide flak suppression. Numerous anti-aircraft batteries were destroyed and the 56th Fighter Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for this mission but 16 of 39 aircraft were lost and 15 of the returning aircraft were damaged.
    After he returned to the 56th Fighter Group for a second combat tour, he took command of the 63d Fighter Squadron on 19 July 1944.
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    He was promoted to Captain on 12 March 1944 and following recovery from his crash landing, Comstock returned to flying combat missions.
    More Details Hide Details Comstock returned to the U.S. for 30 days leave in late May following completion of his first combat tour.
    After a long engagement with enemy aircraft on 3 February 1944, he did not have enough fuel to make it to a runway and was injured in a crash landing near Halesworth, England.
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  • 1943
    Age 22
    Capt. Roger Dyar was killed in action on 26 June 1943.
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    He had additional confirmed victories on 4 October 1943, and 26 November 1943.
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    Lieutenant Comstock was promoted to 1st Lt on 29 May 1943 and achieved his first aerial victory on 17 August 1943, when he shot down a Messerschmitt Bf 109.
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  • 1942
    Age 21
    Comstock reported for duty with the 56th Fighter Group at Bridgeport, Connecticut on 20 July 1942.
    More Details Hide Details His wife gave him the nickname “Bunny Nose” and when the other pilots found out, the nickname of “Bunny” stayed with him. Because of the need to manufacture combat aircraft quickly and the close proximity to the Republic Aviation factory, active duty pilots were used for some of the test flights of the new P-47. On 13 November 1942, Lts. Comstock and Dyar were ordered to test a new type of radio antenna on the P-47C. Lt. Comstock climbed to an indicated altitude of 49,600 feet (15,118 meters) while trying to reach 50,000 feet. Due to poor response from the controls, he decided to let the aircraft fall off rather than risk a spin. He started to dive straight down and after passing below 40,000 feet he found that his controls had frozen. Comstock then felt a bump and was unable to move the controls as the aircraft continued to dive. Even with maximum exertion, he was unable to move the control stick so he started to roll the trim tab back and after passing below 30,000 feet, the aircraft started to pull out of the dive and he recovered between 20,000 and 25,000 feet. Lt. Dyar started his dive and encountered the same conditions.
    Comstock then attended primary flying school at Sikeston, Missouri, basic flying school at Randolph AFB and he graduated from advanced flying school at Foster Field, Texas on 3 July 1942.
    More Details Hide Details He received his commission and pilot wings and then returned to Fresno, California to marry Barbara L. Joint.
  • 1941
    Age 20
    On 1 October 1941, Comstock was ordered to report to Kelly Field, Texas for aviation cadet training.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1920
    Born
    Born on December 20, 1920.
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