Charles H. MacDonald

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Charles Henry "Mac" MacDonald
Col. MacDonald and Al Nelson next to "Putt Putt Maru"
Nickname(s) "Mac"
Born (1914-11-23)November 23, 1914
Dubois, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died March 3, 2002(2002-03-03) (aged 87)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army Air Corps
US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg United States Army Air Forces
Seal of the US Air Force.svg United States Air Force
Years of service 1938–1961
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Colonel
Unit 55th Pursuit Group
18th Pursuit Group
326th Fighter Group
348th Fighter Group
340th Pursuit Squadron
475th Fighter Group
33rd Fighter Group
23rd Fighter Wing
Commands held 340th Pursuit Squadron
475th Fighter Group
33rd Fighter Group
23rd Fighter Wing
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Cross (w/ Oak Leaf Cluster)
Silver Star (w/ OLC)
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (w/ 5 OLCs)
Air Medal (w/ 10 OLCs)
Air Force Commendation Medal
American Defense Medal
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
American Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal

Colonel Charles Henry "Mac" MacDonald, USAF, (November 23, 1914 – March 3, 2002) was an American fighter ace. MacDonald commanded the 475th Fighter Group for 20 months in his P-38 Lightning, "Putt Putt Maru" with the unit number "100" and becoming the third ranking fighter ace in the Pacific during World War II.

Early life[edit]

MacDonald was born in Dubois, Pennsylvania on November 23, 1914. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps pilot training program after graduating from Louisiana State University in 1938. He received his flight wings and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at Kelly Field, Texas on May 25, 1939. His first assignment was to the 55th Pursuit Group, he later transferred to the 18th Pursuit Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii on February 9, 1941 and was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

World War II[edit]

MacDonald then served in the United States with the 326th Fighter Group before transferring to the 348th Fighter Group to command the 340th Pursuit Squadron at Westover Field, Maine. On October 1, 1943, then a major, joined the 475th Fighter Group at Dobodura, New Guinea as the group executive officer. He scored his first four victories that month and became an ace on November 9, 1943 when he downed two Zekes near Alexishafen Airdrome. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel the following day on November 10, 1943 and became the group commander. He finished the war with 27 confirmed victories, making him the third highest ranking U.S. Army fighter pilot of the Pacific Theater.

Later life[edit]

MacDonald returned to the United States in July 1945 where he served in various staff and command assignments, including the 33rd Fighter Group and 23rd Fighter Wing commander, Air Attaché to Sweden, and instructor at the US War College in Washington, D.C. before retiring from the Air Force as a colonel in July 1961. Colonel MacDonald's retirement ceremony at McChord AFB near Tacoma, Washington included a performance by the USAF Thunderbirds and a declaration of 'Col. Charles MacDonald Day'. He then moved to Anacortes, Washington where he opened a real estate business selling island properties in Puget Sound (an excuse to pursue his love of sailing) and his four children finished High School. In 1971 he closed the real estate business, sailed to Mexico, and in 1973 returned to San Diego, California where he and his wife sold the boat that he had first purchased while in Sweden. They spent the next year building a new boat then Colonel MacDonald and his wife spent their time sailing the Pacific and the Caribbean until her death in 1978. He then came ashore and settled back to where he grew up in Mobile, Alabama.


See also[edit]




  • Crocker, H.W. (2006). Don't Tread on me: A 400-year history of America at War, from Indian Fighting to Terrorist Hunting. Crown Forum. ISBN 1-4000-5363-3. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Stanaway, John (1993). Possum, Clover & Hades: The 475th Fighter Group in World War II. Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0-88740-518-5. 
  • Stanaway, John (2007). 475th Fighter Group. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84603-043-9. 
  • Stanaway, John (1997). P-38 Lightning Aces of the Pacific and CBI. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-633-7.