View Full Version : P-38 Ace Jack Ilfrey Has Passed Away

10-22-2004, 12:59 PM
I just received word that P-38 Ace and former commander of the 79th. Fighter Squadron, Maj. Jack M. Ilfrey passed away on October 15th. and was laid to rest on October 19th.

For those of you who never had the honor to meet or know him, Jack was one of the most generous and genuine men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was truly the last of a breed the likes of which we may never see again.

I will miss him dearly.

10-22-2004, 02:59 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SKIDRO_79FS:
I just received word that P-38 Ace and former commander of the 79th. Fighter Squadron, Maj. Jack M. Ilfrey passed away on October 15th. and was laid to rest on October 19th.

For those of you who never had the honor to meet or know him, Jack was one of the most generous and geniune men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was truly the last of a breed the likes of which we may never see again.

I will miss him dearly. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


He wrote about his experiences in WW2 very well. I'll never forget his account of when he decided to take a captured 109 up for a spin. A german speaking Master Sergeant taped english translations ontop the instruments and off he went. However, the 109 was still in German markings and he inadvertently scared the heck out of all the US troops near the airbase!

He got into a bit of bother after he landed (without flaps as the controls had not been labelled http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif) with the CO of the 9th!


10-22-2004, 03:39 PM
RIP Jack http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Skid, my brother, I know how important jack and his life had become to you the last few years. My thoughts are with you as much as with "Happy Jack"'s surviving family members, if there were any left.


310th Falcon
10-22-2004, 04:15 PM

Best Regards

10-22-2004, 04:59 PM
Tsisqua, I appreciate it bro. He had a good life and while I feel his loss deeply, it's better to celebrate the amazing life he lived and to honor his deeds.

10-22-2004, 05:17 PM

I'm sure that Jack would have wanted it that way. Could you possibly post, perhaps a nice photo of Jack that might do that, (Celebrate his life)? Jack had to be one of the more "colorful" pilots in ETO. His evasion story never ceases to put a smile on my face. I don't know if you are able to, but if possible . . . Well . . . you know the pic that I am talking about.


10-22-2004, 05:38 PM
LOL I am guessing you mean the one of Jack dressed up as Jacques Robert, French Farmer. For those of you not familiar with the story, Jack was shot down in June 1944 and evaded through occuppied France to Allied-held territory, a total of 200 miles, dressed like this...

10-22-2004, 05:47 PM
~S~ Rest in Peace........

This is why what we do is so important. Do you guys realize that if we dont keep it alive a whole generation may not even be aware of these guys. Sure.. they will get that cursory glimpse of WW2 in school.. and then they can get the Hollywood versions of some of this.. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif but by keepinmg the memories of these men and thier deeds alive we are gaurding a valuable piece of history for the younger generation.. who wont have the same passion for this stuff that we do. Most of us are one or two generations removed from this... some of us even lived it (not me personnally but some of us). Thats why it is just so cool to me to see so many actual squads represented here.

10-22-2004, 05:53 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SKIDRO_79FS:
LOL I am guessing you mean . . . <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yeppir! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Thanks, Skid.


10-22-2004, 06:00 PM
My pleasure, bro, my pleasure. And thank all of you who have taken the time to post on this thread, it means alot to me. I almost feel as though I have lost a member of my extended family...

According to the source who informed me Jack's obituary won't be run until sometime in the next week or so, if anyone reading this is from either the Houston or San Antonio, Texas area I would love to have a copy of it, I will happily remit the postage. Just drop me a PM.

10-22-2004, 06:43 PM
"Happy Jack" has gone home


10-22-2004, 07:09 PM
Happy Jack and his Go-Buggy: unforgettable. Hats off.

10-22-2004, 10:26 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gifGod Bless!


10-22-2004, 10:42 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif A little info I found on Jack I. written by Ernie Pyle[War Correspondent] during WW2.
Jack's P-38J by artist Tom Tullis

A FORWARD AIRDROME IN FRENCH NORTH AFRICA, February 10, 1943 - Lt. Jack Ilfrey is the leading American ace in North Africa at the moment. However, that's not my reason for writing about him.

In the first place, the theory over here is not to become an individual fighter and shoot down a lot of planes, so being an ace doesn't mean so much. In the second place, somebody else might be ahead of Ilfrey by this evening, with fate pulling the strings the way she does.

So I'm writing about him largely because he is a fine person and more or less typical of all boys who fly our deadly fighters.

Jack Ilfrey is from Houston. His father is cashier of the First National Bank.

Jack is only twenty-two. He has two younger sisters. He went to Texas A & M for two years, and then to the University of Houston, working at the same time for the Hughes Tool Company. He will soon have been in the Army two years.

It is hard to conceive of his ever having killed anybody. For he looks even younger than his twenty-two years. His face is good-humored. His darkish hair is childishly uncontrollable and pops up into a little curlicue at the front of his head. He talks fast, but his voice is soft and he has a very slight hesitation in his speech that somehow seems to make him a gentle and harmless person.

There is not the least trace of the smart aleck or wise guy about him. He is wholly thoughtful and sincere. Yet he mows 'em down.


Ernie Pyle Historic Site

(Indiana State Museum)

C-SPAN Commemoration
(C-SPAN American Writers II: The 20th Century)

Here in Africa Ilfrey has been through the mill. He got two Focke-Wulf 190's one day, two Messerschmitt 109's another day. His fifth victory was over a twin-motored Messerschmitt 110, which carries three men. And he has another kill that has not yet been confirmed.

He hasn't had all smooth sailing by any means. In fact he's very lucky to be here at all. He got caught in a trap one day and came home with two hundred sixty-eight bullet holes in his plane. His armor plate stopped at least a dozen that would have killed him.

Jack's closest shave, however, wasn't from being shot at. It happened one day when he saw a German fighter duck into a cloud. Jack figured the German would emerge at the far end of the cloud, so he scooted along below to where he thought the German would pop out, and pop out he did - right smack into him, almost.

They both kicked rudder violently, and they missed practically by inches. Neither man fired a shot, they were so busy getting out of each other's way. Jack says he was weak for an hour afterward.

There is nothing "heroic" about Lt. Ilfrey. He isn't afraid to run when that is the only thing to do.

He was telling about getting caught all alone one day at a low altitude. Two Germans got on his tail.

"I just had two chances," he says. "Either stay and fight, and almost surely get shot down, or pour on everything I had and try to get away. I ran a chance of burning up my engines and having to land in enemy territory, but I got away. Luckily the engines stood up."

Ilfrey, like all the others here, has little in the way of entertainment and personal pleasure. I walked into his room late one afternoon, after he had come back from a mission, and found him sitting there at a table, all alone, killing flies with a folded newspaper.

And yet they say being an ace is romantic.

10-22-2004, 11:14 PM
~S~ Godspeed! And thanks Skid and woofie!

10-23-2004, 06:00 AM
I read his story in Joe Foss's Book, "Top Guns." He flew P-38's and P-51's.he was a great guy. He fought against Adolf Galland's Fw-190D at one point, and almost killed him, then, at a reunion after the war, he met Adolf Galland when another P-51 ace introduced him to the German Ace. When Jack Ilfrey started asking Adolf Galland about an incident with his P-38 and a long nosed Fw-190 in the summer of 1944, and had described exactly how the dogfight played out, Adolf Galland turned very pale and said,

"You son of b!tch! You d@mn near kill me that day!"

10-23-2004, 08:38 AM
Sorry to here the of his passing Skidro.

R.I.P. Jack. You are now God's copilot. Dip a wing for us now and then. ~S!~

10-23-2004, 05:56 PM
I have Jack on some of my videos and I have to say it's a sad thing to know he's gone as every time I watch them I think I would liked to know this fellow, he strikes me as a very kind and genuine soul.

RIP mate http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif