Last weekend I meant to write a post for Memorial Day. Unfortunately, a dose of food poisoning left blog posts way down on my to-do list. However, since I recently reinvented the calendar, I’ve no problem with rearranging a few special days as well. Leaving this Memorial Day post late for a few extra days has another benefit, Madame Weebles’s Hot Dead Guy Contest found a winner, Pierce McKennon.
What, you didn’t know there was such a contest? Er, right, my bad, I should have mentioned it earlier. It was a brilliant idea to have a brilliant selection of dead guys and vote on them. Just in case that’s not enough brilliants in one sentence, here are a couple of extras for you to use as you please – brilliant, brilliant. Ok, back to the contest.
In the final round, McKennon won out over some guy called Gary Cooper by a good margin. This cheered me up, because McKennon was a WW2 aviator – and not any old aviator, McKennon was a poster boy for service to your country, a fitting person to talk about on (a late) Memorial Day. So let’s talk about those attributes that put him in the winning position, “hot” and “dead.
Ok, the dead part is easy. Yes he is, and at the mere age of 27. Tragically, he left a wife of less than a year and a child he never saw born. He died in a training accident two years after WW2 ended. Compared to his life in the war, he wasn’t doing anything particularly dangerous, just his duty.
So, with “dead” out of the way, what about the “hot” part? Well yes, when it came to flying McKennon was hot. During WW2, he shot down 12 aircraft in aerial combat and destroyed another 10 on the ground. He flew for the Canadians and British before the US entered the war. After transferring to the US Army Air Force he flew Thunderbolts and Mustangs, commanded a fighter squadron, and survived being downed by enemy fire on two occasions.
On the first occasion he was hit by flak, bailed out, and parachuted into occupied France. Thanks to the French Resistance, a month later he returned safely to England. In WW2, when pilots were aided by the Resistance they were prohibited from returning to combat in Europe. The fear was that if captured again they might reveal information about the Resistance. In McKennon’s case this rule was waived, he was too valuable, and returned immediately to active duty. (Chuck Yeager was another pilot who returned to combat in a similar fashion.)
Only a few months later, in March 1945, McKennon was shot down again, this time in Germany. He was hit while attacking ground targets near Berlin and bailed out. In fighter combat there is an adage that says speed is life, and the last thing a fighter pilots wants is to be on the ground and stationary, but Pierce must have been a popular guy because Lt George Green, his wingman, landed his P51 Mustang in a nearby field, and rolled to a stop to rescue McKennon. The two of them squeezed into the Mustang’s single seat by abandoning their parachutes. Green flew the aircraft with McKennon sat in his lap, and they landed safely back in England.
Through these and other adventures, McKennon collected the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal, a Purple Heart, and the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War, from France).
So there you have it, Pierce McKennon, definitely a hot pilot.
Now, I know Madame Weebles knows all this, but there is the vaguest chance he won her Hot Dead Guy competition for entirely different reasons …
What do you think?
PS If Pierce doesn’t float your boat, rumor is that Madame Weebles will be running a Hot Dead Chick Sweet 16 Tournament soon. Stay tuned (or logged in or whatever).