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1Lt. Mingo V. Logothetis: The 12th's Only Ace?

Updated: May 11, 2019

Updated: 23 December 2018

Shot down [1], court-martialed [2], awarded the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, eight Bronze Stars and twenty-three Air Medals [8], flew 101 combat missions, shot down a German jet [3] and at age 23 he may have become the 12th's only ace. All this he accomplished in only nine months of service. Meet 1st Lt Mingo V. Logothetis.

Lt. Logothetis joined the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in Le Molay, France on 3 August 1944 [3]. He quickly distinguished himself as one of the finest and most loved Recce pilots in the squadron [3]. Several of his missions garnered praise from his superiors [3].

On one such mission he pinpointed and visually assessed fifty-four bridges along seventy-five miles of the Main River from Mainz to Miltenberg despite enemy flak and terrible weather [3]. (Click here for an interactive map.)


Mingo's flight along the Main River, Germany

Lt. Logothetis also had a reputation for aggressive tactics [2]. Reconnaissance pilots were under standing orders to avoid dogfights with the enemy unless they were first attacked [2] These recce (military shorthand for reconnaissance) pilots were simply too valuable to risk losing in aerial combat [2]. Such orders made it rare for members to dogfight the enemy. Mingo, however, routinely returned from missions with his gun camera film full of enemy aircraft he’d engaged [2]. Mingo was clearly doing something different.

The Commander’s suspicion aroused, he dispatched a pilot to follow Mingo during a mission to investigate Mingo's actions [2]. The pilot trailing Mingo soon discovered Mingo did not jettison his external fuel tanks when they were empty [2]. The reason for this unusual break in procedure did not become apparent until Mingo completed his mission and headed for home. On the way back he observed Mingo seek out and dive an enemy airfield using his drop tanks as bombs [2]. These external fuel tanks had just enough residual fuel to explode upon impact [2]. The Germans, believing they were under attack, scrambled their aircraft to meet the threat only to have Mingo swoop in at high speed firing upon them in their most vulnerable state (during takeoff) before zooming for home [2]. By the time the enemy was airborne, Mingo was long gone. Mingo was deliberately provoking fights with the enemy. Learning of Mingo’s behavior, the Commander court-martialed him for his insubordination and deliberate disregard of orders [2]. As the story goes, when the papers reached General Patton’s desk, the General ripped up the documents hollering he wasn’t about to court martial anyone for killing Germans [2]. It's a good thing too. Judging by Lt. Logothetis’ record, keeping him around was certainly worth any trouble he may have caused.


Capt Elmer T. Olsen Collection 12 TRS
Image courtesy of Mr. Jerry Olson

Mingo is officially credited with one aerial victory4 however, other sources indicate he had several more. Mr. Tom Ive's book "Patton's Eyes in the Sky" grants Mingo four victories and three probable [5]. The 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron's Monthly History for April 1945 states Mingo shot down four enemy aircraft [3]. Additionally, a document marked "Restricted" in the Lt. Elmer T. Olsen Collection titled "10th Reconnaissance Group Claims in the ETO" lists Lt. Logothetis as an ace with 6.5 victories (see image below) [6]. It is uncertain why the official Air Force record disagrees with other documentation.

Is Mingo an Ace? Unfortunately, not yet. At least not officially. His current record still remains at one credit. However, if the document from the Olson Collection can be verified, Lt. Logothetis will become the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron’s only Ace. Official ace or not, 1st Lt. Mingo V. Logothetis was an outstanding aviator with daring and courage befitting an ace. His career is certainly one of which the 12th can be very proud.

Special thanks to Mr. Jerry Olson for allowing us use of images from his father's album.


Also special thanks to Mr. Dimitris Vassilopoulos from https://www.greeks-in-foreign-cockpits.com for making Lt. Mingo's Official Military Personnel Record available to TwelfthRecon. This allowed us to accurately update Lt. Logothetis' war record.

 

1. Bruce, R. (n.d.). Lt. Robert Bruce 12 TRS Recollections [Interview by D. S. Pool]. Penn Valley, CA. Private interview

conducted by Capt Daniel S. Pool 1st Reconnaissance Squadron

2. “Stories told by Capt. Elmer T. Olson of the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron during WWII” by Jerry Olson,

n.d. unpublished

3. 12th TRS Monthly Histories 1917-1947 (1947). USAF.

4. USAF Study No 85 "USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft. (1978). USAF.

5. Ivie, T. G. (2003). Pattons eyes in the sky: USAAF combat reconnaissance missions north-west Europe: 1944-

1945. Hersham: Classic.

6. Elmer T. Olson Collection, 12th Reconnaissance Squadron Digital Archives, USAF donated by the Olson Family

7. Map created on Google maps.com Retrieved from https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?

mid=1YgDx4NS2b3HBXi-o9azpzpYcj1Q&ll=49.885233878747464%2C9.06578062734377&z=10 on 29 Mar 2018


8. 1Lt. Mingo Logothetis Official Military Personnel Record


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