Zero Shot Down - with a Pistol

Owen John Baggett was born in 1920 in Graham, Texas. By 1941 he graduated from college and went on to work on Wall Street, but by the following year, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps (now USAF) when the United States entered the war. A studious man, he graduated from pilot training in just five months and was sent to Burma, flying a B-24 Liberator. What he happened the following year is one of those stories we just described.

On March 31st, 1943, Baggett and his squadron were sent on a mission to destroy a bridge of strategic importance. On their way, the B-24s got intercepted by Japanese Zeros which hit the squadron hard. Baggett’s plane was riddled with bullets to such an extent that the crew was forced to bail out.

While crew were parachuting out, a cowardly Japanese pilot decided that downing the plane wasn’t enough. He circled around and started shooting at the bailed out pilots, killing two of the crew. Seeing this, Baggett did the only thing he could. He played dead. Not convinced Baggett was dead, the Zero pulled up to him at near stall speed, the pilot opening his canopy to check on his horrendous work. Not wasting any time and thinking on his feet (no pun intended), Baggett pulled out his pistol and shot the pilot right in the head.

This is considered the best shot by a Caliber .45 M911 pistol of ALL TIME.

The last thing he saw was the Zero spiraling toward earth.

When he landed, he and the other surviving crew members were captured and sent to a POW camp where they remained till the end of the war. They were liberated by OSS agents and Baggett was recognized as the only person during the war to shoot down a Zero with a pistol.

Full Story & More Images:  (sent to me via email).