WWII ace pilot, Air Force general
Thomas Lloyd Hayes, 91, a retired Air Force brigadier general who won designation as an ace pilot in Europe and the Pacific during World War II, died July 24 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at a hospital in Reston, Va.
The requirement for ace status is five or more documented aerial victories. Hayes was credited with the destruction of 8 1/2 German and two Japanese aircraft. He flew 485 hours in 143 combat missions.
Stationed in the South Pacific for most of 1942, he was once shot down by a Japanese Zero fighter over Bali. Later in the war, he went to England as a squadron commander and, on March 6, 1944, led one of the first successful daylight raids on Berlin.
He was the deputy commander of the 357th Fighter Group, which was credited with the highest kill ratio for the U.S. Army Air Forces in Europe. The 357th produced 42 aces and had more victories against German planes than any other unit.
A native of Portland, Ore., Hayes earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Oregon. He had 26 years of active service in the Air Force before retiring Feb. 1, 1970. During that time, he also attended the NATO Defense College.
He was awarded the Silver Star for destroying two Japanese Zeros; three Distinguished Flying Cross medals; and a Purple Heart.