World War II Ace Dies

Robert DeHaven, 86, a World War II fighter ace who shot down 14 Japanese aircraft in the Pacific theater and went on to become a test pilot and executive with Hughes Aircraft, died July 10. The Los Angeles Times reported that he passed away at a hospital near his home in Encino, Calif., after a long illness. Born Jan. 13, 1922, in San Diego, DeHaven joined the Army Air Forces in 1942. The following year, he was assigned to the 7th Fighter Squadron, “The Screamin’ Demons” of the 49th Fighter Group stationed in New Guinea. He achieved 10 of his aerial victories in the cockpit of a P-40 and four in the seat of a P-38 after the unit converted to the Lightning in mid 1944. After the war, he became personal pilot to Howard Hughes and joined Hughes Aircraft as a test pilot. He rose to director of flight test division before retiring in the 1980s. (For more on DeHaven, click here for the 7th FS virtual headquarters)