June 1944 - He returned to Japan.
Tetsuzo "Tetsu" Iwamoto
JNAF Lieutenant J/G
Born in June 1916 in Shimane (Hata/Izawa) or Hokkaido (Sakaida) Prefecture.
Graduated from Masuda Agriculture & Forestry School.
Tetsu did not want to be a farmer and so he
Joined Imperial Japanese navy in June 1934.
December 1936 - Graduated as fighter pilot from 34th pilot training course.
February 25 1938 - His baptism of fire is with 12 AG claims 4 destroyed & 1 probable
(I-15s & I-16s).
April 29 over Hankow - downs 4 more fighters.
September 1938 - sent to Japan to join Saiki AG.
At war's end he had flown 82 sorties & claimed 14 Kills.
He was Japan's top Ace of the China War.
Serving aboard the carrier Zuikaku, Iwamoto flew top cover for the Japanese Invasion Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Returned to Japan December 24th.
Participated in the battles of the Indian Ocean & Coral Sea.
August 1942 - became an instructor.
Transferred to Air Group 281 - spring 1943.
Spent summer on Paramushir Island doing air defense.
November 1943 - went with 15 new fighters to Rabaul.
Where he joined 204 AG & later 253 AG.
February 1944 - withdrew to Truk Island to protect against near constant B-24 bombardment.
September 1944 - attached to Fighter Hikotai 316, 252 AG & Promoted to ensign.
October - air battles over Taiwan & Philippines by November he's back in Japan.
Spring 1945 - transferred to AG 203 & sent to Kyushu for more air defense operations..
He spent the last months of the war training Kamikaze pilots at Iwakuni Airfield
Tetsuzo Iwamoto finished the war credited with approximately
80 planes destroyed in China & WW2. He had almost 8 years of combat under his belt, had flown against a myriad of enemy & downed a large share of them as well. This makes him one of the most experienced fighter pilots of all time.
His own writings, which were found after his death, have
him claiming 202 planes destroyed, 27 unconfirmed destroyed, 26 shared destroyed & 2 destroyed OTG [on the ground].
The Japanese were probably the biggest
over-claimers* of WW2 however and since Nishizawa was considered "Top Dog" by the Japanese at the time, I consider
the estimate of 80 to be somewhat high. No doubt others consider it far too low.
Like many Japanese veterans, Iwamoto did not adjust well to Japan's defeat. This was not helped by the fact that he was "blacklisted" from most employment opportunities & had turned to alcohol.
On 20 May 1955, after a series of bad surgeries, he passed away, his wife claiming his last words to be, roughly, "When I get better, I want to fly again."
[* It should be noted that the over-claiming was probably a result of poor record keeping techniques as opposed to pilot boasting]
Victories Include :
Approximately 80 Victories - Details to follow
Thanks go out to
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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