Interviewing living legend, Bill Overstreet at Warbirds Over the Beach earlier this year.

Interviewing living legend, Bill Overstreet at Warbirds Over the Beach earlier this year.

Former fighter pilot William Overstreet Jr., famous for flying beneath the arches of the Eiffel Tower while chasing a German aircraft during the war, died Sunday afternoon. He was 92. Considered by many a legend for his incredible maneuver, Overstreet’s most famous flight came while in solo pursuit of a German Messerschmitt Bf 109G flying into Nazi-occupied Paris. He maneuvered his plane beneath the arches of the Eiffel Tower, re-igniting the motivations of the French Resistance troops on the ground.

Extraordinary artwork depicting one of Bill Overstreet’s most dramatic aerial victories, by Len Krenzler of Action Art (Image Credit: Len Krenzler / Action Art )

Extraordinary artwork depicting one of Bill Overstreet’s most dramatic aerial victories, by Len Krenzler of Action Art
(Image Credit: Len Krenzler / Action Art )

Warbirds News had the honor to meet Bil during the last Warbirds Over The Beach, the full interview can be read here. Bill was active and enjoying air shows and gatherings of WWII veterans through his long retirement, and we were honored that he took the time to sit down and talk to us about his experiences.

Overstreet was honored in 2009 for his World War Two heroics. The French Ambassador presented him the “Legion of Honor,” France’s highest award.

Memorial services for Overstreet will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Second Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, according to Oakey’s, with interment at 1 p.m. Saturday at Evergreen Burial Park. His obituary states that his family requests those attending the memorial service consider wearing something either or both red and yellow, his squadron’s colors, and contributions be sent to the Roanoke Salvation Army ( Source


  1. David J Blythe says:

    I like that he lived at a time when we needed & honored such heroic Americans. Rest In Peace Sir! *Salute*

  2. Peter Wadey says:

    What a story. Sheer magic. God bless you, Sir. Will we ever see the likes of his metal again.

  3. Thomas S Colones says:

    My condolences to his family and friends and he served this nation well in war and peace. Great P-51 pilot with the 357th FG in WW II. I see on this Youtube interview with Mr Overstreet he speaks here about “liberating” a Me-262 from a German airfield in occupied territory and flying it back to Ailled lines with the help of the French. Can anyone add more to this ????? Thanks ! TC

    • Pastor Jeff says:

      Bill flew the Me-262 jet back to Woodbridge, England in 1944. The story checks out. Unbelievable to many, but true. Bill was amazed by the acceleration of the German jet. He flew at 50′ or less all the way back to England. He overshot his first approach; and landed successfully on the second. Everyone had a gun on him; he had a lot of explaining to do. Woodbridge had extended runways for damaged bombers to make safe landings in their distress.

  4. Thomas S Colones says:
  5. Richard Huff says:

    WOW!!! What an achievement! I was a child during WWII. As children we played war and were fighting the Germans and Japanese. We never dreamed of what Willian Overstreet accomplished. I congratulate Pilot Overstreed. This story warms my heart.

  6. WarbirdsNews says:

    The interview with Bill is definitely the best experience since we started Warbirds News. We asked him about why he never wrote a book…his answer was: ” yeah…a book made for crayons!”

  7. Pingback: P51 chases ME109 through Eiffel Tower - Greatest Generation. - : Factory Five Racing Discussion Forum

  8. Field Marshal says:

    We respect the remarkable war hero.
    Relax in Peace.

  9. Doug Woodall says:

    Thank you sir for allowing my family and I to remain free. RIP.

  10. Yes! Finally someone writes about nicky.

  11. You sir…are a true hero, I salute you…….and thank you for your service and helping to keep America free, RIP.

  12. Thank you sir for fighting fascism so bravely, and so well. Godspeed.

    I was born in 1963, but had the good fortune to have a family friend who was an owner of many vintage warbirds and as a youth flew in some WW2 pursuit planes and even a B-17. One cannot imagine the courage it took just to fly into harm’s way in such aircraft, much less to pursue the enemy and the mission with such unwavering fortitude, time and time again. Yet there is something magic about the men who flew these planes that would cast a spell over you every time you got near them. I was young and fearless in the company of those who piloted these “buckets of bolts” so casually, but as I age my sense of awe only deepens. As a kid standing on the tarmac listening to the stories, or seated in the lap of a man inside a Stearman or a Corsair looping and rolling through the Texas clouds, I thought they were ten feet tall. Now I know they stood even taller, on feet of clay, with nothing inside them but guts.

  13. I like it when people get together and share
    views. Great blog, keep it up!

  14. Pingback: The Weather Channel's Tribute to Bill Overstreet

  15. Frank Ellis says:

    After my Uncle flew 30 missions in B-17’s, he was assigned to a Ferry Squadron based in Scottland. He had flown his 30th mission on D-Day.
    Among the planes he flew in the Ferry Squadron were P-47 Thunderbolts. When Paris was liberated he was delivering one to Paris for the forward forces fighting towards Germany. As he approached Paris he saw the Eiffel Tower. Having beat the odds and surviving 30 missions he had apparently developed what we call in Naval Carrier Aviation “NAFOD” (No Apparent Fear of Death.) He flew the P-47 under the arch of the Eiffel and finished off with a Victory Roll. After delivering the plane, he took some time off and went on a walking tour of Paris, mainly to check out the women. He soon found himself at the Eiffel Tower and was, ironically, standing under the arch. A French Policeman approached him a and said, “Captain (he was in Uniform), you must be very careful standing here crazy American Pilots fly through here very low and very fast!”
    My Uncle was probably inspired by Overstreet’s earlier audacious maneuver.
    As we day in the Navy, “this is no shit.” In other words, It’s true!
    LCDR Frank Ellis, USNR RET.

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