Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Philip R. Adair, 97, of Spotsylvania and formerly of Goldvein, passed away Saturday, May 13, 2017.
He was born April 15, 1920, in Tuttle, Okla.
As a youngster, he grew up watching U.S. Army Air Corp pilots from the nearby airfield at Wichita Falls buzz the family farm and spook the horses. After graduating from high school in 1937, he had no money for college, so he took a job as a candy salesman and saved his money to take flying lessons. In December 1941, events would change, he would have his pilot’s license and the U.S. Army Air Corps accepted him as a cadet.
After advanced training, he was assigned to the 89th Fighter Squadron of the 80th Fighter Group, which would later become the world famous and globally recognized “Burma Banshees.” Col. Adair was the flight leader for D Flight and flew 139 combat missions. His plane “Lulu Belle” was number 44, and on his 44th mission, Dec. 13, 1943, he would intercept and single-handedly attack an enemy formation of 64 enemy airplanes. He shot down two confirmed victories that day and two more probable victories. For his bravery, Col. Adair was awarded the Silver Star.
In May 1944, he would again find himself and his flight of four P-40 airplanes outnumbered by 15 Japanese Oscars. The battle commenced between 2,000 and 4,000 feet and would find Col. Adair claiming two more confirmed victories. Combining his love of automobiles and planes, his P-40 wore wide whitewall tires and was probably the only P40 in World War II to wear such tires. He would also receive the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal.
Col. Adair retired from the Air Force in 1971 and settled in Goldvein. He enjoyed time with his family, fishing and collecting Packard automobiles. Col. Adair would take great pride in his membership in the Old Dominion Packard Club and always had an eye towards his next acquisition.
Survivors include his wife, Carol Adair; two daughters, Judith Adair of Centerville ad Gale Adair Clem and husband Steven of Fredericksburg; two sons, Robin Adair of Spotsylvania and Philip Adair Jr. and wife Colleen of Raleigh, N.C.; seven grandchildren, Mac Gallahan, Rachel Gallahan, Frank Tranfa, Philip Tranfa, Luke Adair, Melanie Adair and Regan Adair, and four great grandchildren, Van Tranfa, Thomas Tranfa, Austin Tranfa and Nathan Royce.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, at Found and Sons Funeral Chapels, 10719 Courthouse Road, Fredericksburg. Burial will be scheduled for a later date in a national cemetery.
Memorial donations may to Disabled American Veterans
Online condolences may be expressed to his family at foundandsons.com.