|Osterkamp During World War I
The best-known dual-World War ace was Oberleutnant zur See and (later Generalleutnant) Theo Osterkamp (1892–1975). He is also a rare example of the recipient of his nation's highest military honor in two separate wars. He would shoot down both a Camel and a Spitfire in his dramatic career. At the beginning of the war, the Prussian Army rejected him for health reasons, but Osterkamp was accepted by the Freiwilliges Marine Flieger Corps and flew with Marine Field Jastas I &II. First as an observer and then piloting a variety of aircraft, including the Fokker D.VIII, he became the German Navy's highest scoring ace with 32 victories. Osterkamp was one of the last Germans awarded the Pour le Mérite, in 1918. When the war ended, he went east to fight the Bolsheviks in the Baltics.
|With His Wife Inspecting a Lufwaffe Aircraft
In 1933, he joined Germany's new Luftwaffe. In 1940, Osterkamp commanded JG 51 flying ME-109s in the Battles of France and Britain. During World War II, he was credited with six more victories. (Some sources contest this number.) He eventually rose to the rank of Generalleutnant and was awarded the Ritterkreuz, Germany's highest award for valor during the Second World War. His criticism of the Luftwaffe High Command led to his dismissal from service in December 1944. He survived and lived into his 80s, passing away in Baden Baden in 1975.
Sources: theaerodrome.com; WikiCommons