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Pilot's Last Act of Heroism Says Lots About Him

February 07, 1996

Re "A Time When 'Hero' Meant Something Much More" (Jan. 12): We were just kids, playing on our Satsuma Street front porch that summer day as we watched Maj. Richard Bong's valiant and torturous efforts to steer his doomed P-80 away from the houses on our block.

There was no question he had plenty of time to eject safely when the plane first started sputtering high in the sky. Instead, he chose to save us and sacrifice himself by crashing in the vacant lot two houses away, fatally parachuting out at the level of the power lines that dotted the area.

This final act of heroism said infinitely more about the man than his records of downed enemy planes, and should be highlighted in any memorial to his short and brilliant life.

BEVERLY DELOTT

Pacific Palisades

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