George Mellinger enlisted in the Army in 1969 and spent a year in Viet Nam, with a primary MOS of 12B20, Combat Engineer.
He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. After discharge from the Army, he enlisted again in the Texas Army National Guard
for a year. For seven years he worked as an administrative manager for the Veterans Administration. George Mellinger is the
co-author of: LaGG & Lavochkin Aces of World War 2; Yakovlev Aces of World War 2; and, Soviet Lend-Lease Fighter
Aces of World War 2.
According to the book description of LaGG & Lavochkin Aces of
World War 2, “This book examines the LaGG family of fighters that were amongst the first modern piston-engined
interceptors made available to the Red Air Forces in early 1941and proved far better fighters than their radial-engined predecessors.
Despite technical maladies and political interference from Moscow, the LaGG-3 matured into an effective fighter when flown
to its strengths at low level. Many early Soviet aces were weaned on the LaGG-3, and if they survived the early massacres
of 1941-42, they went on to fly the Lavochkin family of fighters. Indeed, the Lavochkin La-3, -5 and -7 were the fighters
of choice for Heroes of the Soviet Union such as Ivan Kozhedub, who claimed 62 kills.”
to the book description of Soviet Lend-Lease Fighter Aces of World War 2, “By the end of 1941
the Soviet Union was near collapse and its air force almost annihilated, leaving large numbers of surviving pilots with no
aircraft to fly. At this juncture the United Kingdom put aside its prewar animosities toward the Communists and dispatched
several hundred Hurricane fighters despite the fact that at this time the British were still struggling to supply the RAF
with modern fighters in North Africa and the Far East. A total of 4300 Hurricanes and Spitfires, as well as several hundred
Tomahawks, Kittyhawks and Airacobras, obtained from the USA under Lend-lease, were eventually supplied to the USSR in an attempt
to present a Russian defeat. After the United States had entered the war, the Americans extended Lend-lease to include direct
supply to the Soviets as well as the British, and among the aircraft sent were almost 10,000 fighters - mainly P-39s, P-40s
and P-63s. Although many of these aircraft were outdated when they arrived, and some were not particularly suited to Russian
operating conditions, they served when they were needed. A number of Russian pilots became Heroes of the Soviet Union flying
Lend-lease aircraft, and many more gained their early experience before converting to their own Yaks and Lavochkins. All of
these types, including the Hurricane, remained in active units until the end of the war, and even into the post-war period.
Soviet government tried to play down or conceal the importance of Lend-lease fighters until well into the 1980s, and the pilots
who flew them were discriminated against as 'foreigners'. Only in recent years have these pilots felt free to admit
what they flew, and now the fascinating story of these men and their heroic achievements can emerge.”
to the book description of Yakovlev Aces of World War 2, “The Yak-1 entered Soviet service
in 1941, one of three modern types of aircraft accepted for production just prior to the German invasion of the USSR. Despite
initial shortcomings, it soon proved to be the thoroughbred of the Soviet Air Force. Indeed, it remained in production until
the end of the war, modernized but fundamentally recognizable. By VE-day about 33,100 Yakovlev fighters had been built. Virtually
all Soviet fighter regiments flew at least one variety of Yak for a time, including those which gained their fame identified
with other aircraft, and consequently many pilots known as Airacobra or Lavochkin aces also scored victories with the Yak.
Many other famous aces were exclusively ‘Yak patriots’, including the French Normandie pilots. This book focuses
on the Soviet aces who scored all, or most of their victories in the Yak, drawing information from official unit histories
and memoirs of the Soviet pilots themselves.”