Lieutenant General George Loving,
USAF (ret.) “entered military service in March 1942 as an aviation cadet and graduated from flying school in 1943 with
a commission as second lieutenant and his pilot wings. He flew 151 combat missions as a fighter pilot with the 31st Fighter
Group during World War II, flying Spitfires and P-51 aircraft over Italy, Southern France, Germany, Czechoslovakia and the
other occupied countries of Eastern Europe. He became a fighter ace during this period, shooting down five enemy aircraft
and damaging two others.
Shortly after the beginning of the
Korean War, he volunteered for combat duty and in July 1950 went to Taegu, Korea, where he served 13 months, initially as
base operations officer, and then as commander of the 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. He flew 113 missions against North Korean
and Communist Chinese forces and participated in five major campaigns.
He served as commandant,
Air Command and Staff College from June 1970 to January 1973. General Loving was assigned as deputy director
of plans in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and operations at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, in January 1973,
and served as director of plans from April 1973 to January 1975. He was appointed Joint Chiefs of Staff Representative for
Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction in January 1975 and served as the senior military member of the U.S. delegation to the
international conference in Vienna on MBFR.
During the period August 1975 to June 1977, he served as commander, Sixth Allied Tactical Air
Force, with headquarters at Izmir, Turkey. He was reassigned to Japan and assumed command of U.S. Forces Japan and Fifth Air
Force in June 1977.” Lieutenant General George Loving is the author of Woodbine Red Leader:
A P-51 Mustang Ace in the Mediterranean Theater.
According to the book description
of Woodbine Red Leader: A P-51 Mustang Ace in the Mediterranean Theater, “World War II marked
the end of an era; fighter pilots still flew by the seat of their pants, and George Loving recaptures the exhilarating world
of aerial combat in all its stark terror and fiery glory. His first fighter was the famed Spitfire, hero of the Battle of
Britain. By 1943, however, it was obsolescent and did not match up well against the first-line German Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs.
Yet Loving survived 101 combat missions flying the Spitfire. In the spring of 1944, Loving’s 31st Fighter Group started
flying P-51 Mustangs and was transferred to the new Fifteenth Air Force to escort heavy-bomber formations on long-range strategic
strikes across southern Europe, including southeastern Germany. In the flak-filled skies over Ploesti, Vienna, Bucharest,
Munich, and Stuttgart, where a number of the war’s fiercest air battles took place, Lieutenant Loving flew head-to-head
against some of the Luftwaffe’s top fighter aces.
By the time George Loving completed his 151st, and final, combat mission
on August 21, 1944, he had risen from a lowly second lieutenant and untested wingman to captain, group leader, and Mustang
ace. Loving’s gripping account captures the savage action he experienced in all its intensity.”