Clyde Bennet "Stonewall" East

Clyde East  

RCAF   &   USAAF   -   L/Col

Silver Star, DFC w/3 OLC (US),
Air Medal w/ 41 Oak Leaf clusters

Born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, 19 July 1921
Joined the RCAF in June 1941
No.6 SFTS Dunnville - graduated November 1942
(He met his future wife (from Hamilton, Ont.) while training)
Sent overseas and completed OTU
Assigned to 414 squadron RCAF
Completed his tour with 414 in December 1943
Transfered to the USAAF in January 1944
Assigned to the 15th Tactical Recon. Sqn. 10th Photo. Group
Here he flew Spitfires & F-6C/D (recce P-51)
1st American to shoot down an e/a on D-day
Flew in Korea & over Cuba during the missile crisis
Retired from the Air Force in 1965
Worked for the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica
Retired and living in Oak Park, California as of December 2013
Was a docent at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
His awards are on display there in the National Heroes Gallery
He passed away 30 July 2014



Clyde East
'Stonewall' in front of an early RCAF P-51. Note the location of those guns.


Victories Include :

6 June 1944
17 Dec 1944
15 Mar 1945
24 Mar 1945
27 Mar 1945
4 Apr 1945

4 Aug 1945

13 April 1945
one FW190
one Me109
one Me109
two Me109s
two Ju87s
one FW190
1/2 Ju188
two Ju87s
one FH104 [1]
1/2 He111
one Me109
destroyed &
destroyed &

13 / 0 / 0

[1] Or Siebel Si 204


During Surveillance Missions U.S. Pilots Joined In Air By Reds But Not Fired Upon

WASHINGTON, 29 November 1962 - (AP) - Two U.S. pilots who flew surveillance missions over Cuba say they were joined in the skies by Red fighter planes but were not attacked.
They made their statements Wednesday as 25 medals were presented by high ranking Air Force and Navy officers to pilots who flew over Cuba on reconnaissance missions. Eleven more medals are to be presented.
Lt. Col. Clyde B East commanding officer of the 29th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron said at Tampa, Fla., that he had spotted three types of Soviet MIG jet fighters while over Cuba.

One Type Faster
He said one type - the MIG 21 - was faster than his RF101 Voodoo reconnaissance plane, rated at more than 1,000 miles an hour. The Soviet planes, he said, "never fired on us, they just hightailed it."
East, 41, a native of Chatham, Va., who received his fourth Distinguished Flying Cross Wednesday, also said U.S. planes were fired on from the ground but "no one was hit or hurt."
In Omaha, Neb., Air Force Maj. Richard S. Heyser said he had seen Cuban planes on several occasions. Asked if they tried to intercept him, he hesitated then replied, "not that I was aware of."

Not Worried
Heyser wouldn't say what kind of plane he was piloting, but he did remark that he flew so high he wasn't worried about antiaircraft fire.
Heyser, 35, is a member of the 4080th Strategic Wing of Laughlin Air Force Base, a Strategic Air Command unit which defense officials previously have said includes high flying U2 aircraft. These planes have an estimated altitude of 70,000 feet or more.
Heyser said U.S. pilots were briefed on what to look for and "fortunately we found it." He said information gathered by his unit by visual sightings and by equipment enabled other pilots to fly low level reconnaissance missions over Cuba.

Gets First Look
The flier from Apalachicola, Fla. said he got his first look at the surveillance photographs Wednesday, but had seen newspaper reproductions previously.
Heyser talked with newsmen briefly following ceremonies at the Strategic Air Command headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, in which he and nine others received Distinguished Flying Crosses or Oak Leaf Clusters. Gen. Thomas S. Power, SAC commander, pinned on the medals and credited the pilots with showing "exceptional flying skill and personal bravery during a period of great crisis."
Lt. Col. East and 14 other air force pilots of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing of Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, S.C., received Distinguished Flying Crosses from Adm. Robert L Dennison at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa. They were cited for low level missions over Cuba from Oct. 23 through Oct. 29.
Dennison, commander of the Atlantic Fleet and chief of all military operations during the Cuban crisis, was to present DFCs to six Navy and four Marine pilots at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla. today
The Defense Department said Wednesday that a medal also will go to an Air Force captain who has been transferred to Laon, France.
Maj. Rudolf Anderson Jr. of an aerial surveillance mission over Cuba, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal posthumously.


Clyde in the cockpit of his Mustang   East in 2009


Related Sites :



Thanks go out to

Chris Clarke for the photos

On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research which includes info from numerous sources; newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC); the Google News Archives; the London Gazette Archives and other sources both published and private.

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