An artist's depiction
of the dramatic moment shows Overstreet in his P51 Mustang chasing
The fighter pilot who
flew through the Eiffel Tower in 1944 has died
the spring of 1944 Bill and his P-51C, the 'Berlin Express' were
near Paris when the scene that is immortalized in the artwork by
Len Krenzler (above). Bill had followed this Bf109 from the bombers
he was escorting when most of the German fighters left. The two
planes had been in a running dogfight.
The German pilot flew
over Paris hoping that the heavy German anti-aircraft artillery
would solve his problem and eliminate Overstreet and the 'Berlin
Express', though Bill managed to get some hits in at about 1500
The German's engine was hit,
and Bill stayed on his tail braving the intense enemy flak. His
desperation undoubtedly growing, the German pilot aimed his plane
at the Eiffel Tower and in a surprising maneuver, flew beneath it.
Undeterred, Bill followed
right behind him, scoring several more hits in the process. The
German plane crashed and Bill escaped the heavy flak around Paris
by flying low and full throttle over the river until he had cleared
the city's heavy anti-aircraft batteries.
WWII fighter pilot
who flew THROUGH the Eiffel Tower to take down a German plane
dies in Virginia aged 92.
William Overstreet Jr., a former captain in the U.S. Air Corps,
passed away on Sunday at a hospital in Roanoke, Virginia.
He famously flew his plane beneath the Eiffel Tower in Nazi-occupied
Paris in 1944, lifting the spirits of French troops on the
In 2009, he was presented France's Legion of Honor.
Click Image for larger view
Remembered: Overstreet was presented
with France's Legion of Honour in 2009
War II Aviator Bill Overstreet Jr., best known for flying
beneath the Eiffel Tower in pursuit of a German plane, is
pictured in his military days.
Before the ceremony, Overstreet had previously said that,
if he lived long enough to receive the Legion of Honor,
he would be accepting it in memory of his fallen brothers.
In particular, he wanted to pay tribute to a friend, Eddy
Simpson, who died fighting the Nazis on the ground so his
comrades, including Overstreet, could escape.
After the award was pinned to his lapel, Overstreet said:
'If I said, "Thank you," it wouldn't be enough,'
before adding: 'What more than "thank you" do
He was born in Clifton Forge, Virginia in 1921 and after
Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Air Corps as a fighter
1942, he was a private and sent to California for flight
training; here, his instructors prepared him for the unexpected
mid-flight by cutting the engine as he landed.
RIP Bill Overstreet
April 10, 1921 December 29, 2013