Sydney S. Woods
|Sidney Sterling Woods|
July 25, 1917|
San Marcos, Texas
|Died||March 31, 1989(aged 71)|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
|Years of service||1939-1945
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Air Medal (10)
Croix de guerre
|Other work||American Fighter Aces Association|
U.S. Army Cavalry
Second Lieutenant Woods served the next two years (1939–1940) as a cavalryman at Fort Bliss. He was accepted for flight training and graduated from pilot school in September 1941. As a member of the U.S. Army Air Forces, he was flying with the 49th Pursuit Group at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
World War II flying ace
Woods spent six months commanding a P-38 training squadron before he was sent to Europe as a P-38 pilot with a new unit. He completed his first tour in Europe in late 1944. Subsequently, he returned to the European Theater of Operations (ETO) for another combat tour, flying P-51 Mustangs with the 4th Fighter Group. As deputy group commander, Lt. Col. Woods became an ace in a day by downing five Focke-Wulf 190s on 22 March 1945. However, three weeks later he was shot down by flak over Prague, Czechoslovakia, on his 68th ETO mission when he was leading Group "A" in a strafing attack against the Luftwaffe bases in the area. He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war. He was released from captivity about two months later. He was discharged in 1945, returning to Arizona.
During the Korean War he was called to active duty (1951–1952) to command a training unit at Williams Air Force Base. He also led the Air Force Jet Acrobatic Team, the predecessor to the Air Force's Thunderbirds.
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Silver Star
- Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters
- Air Medal with one silver oak leaf cluster and four bronze oak leaf clusters
- French Croix de Guerre
Woods settled in Arizona after World War II, becoming a successful Yuma businessman, flying his own aircraft, and as a founding member of the American Fighter Aces Association.
He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1964.
Sid Woods died of cancer at age 71 and his alma mater established an alumni service award in his honor.