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In the memory of Grigoriy Rechkalov
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Grigoriy Rechkalov was born on February the 9th 1920; he made his name as the most successful P-39 Airacobra pilot ever (with 50 victories) and one of the best Allied aces.

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He started his initial flight training in 1937, commissioned and assigned to the 55-th IAP (fighter squadron). By the time the USSR entered World War II, he was already an experienced aviator. However when Rechkalov underwent a routine medical examination on June 21st, 1941 the pilot was found unfit for military air service. Rechkalov gave up his career for lost, but when he brought the papers to the regimental headquarters, the war had already broken out. In the chaos of the war’s first day, the colonel gave him his first mission without even looking at Rechkalov's papers.

His first plane during the war was the I-153 “Chayka”, which Rechkalov used to bring down the first enemy aircraft in his career - the Soviet pilot managed to hit a Bf 109 fighter with a rocket. He achieved two more victories in the next two months before being seriously wounded in the right leg by an AA round. Rechkalov was hospitalized and returned to his unit (re-christened 16 Guard’s 16th GvIAP) in April 1942.` During the 1943 he shot down up to 42 enemy aircraft both alone and within a group! Over all Rechkalov achieved 61 personal victories. For his exceptional service, Rechkalov was decorated twice with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union - the highest military award in the USSR.

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