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Makoto Ogawa (born 1917) was a pilot who served in the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force during World War II. Ogawa had scored a total nine aerial kills during his career in the IJAAF as well as earning the Bukōchōshō, one of the highest awards in the country at the time.  

History

Early Life

Makoto Ogawa was born in February of the year 1917 and enlisted into the IJAAF at the age of eighteen. He was put into service as a ground crewman with the 7th Flying Rentai, located in his same prefecture. Ogawa quickly decided to become a fighter pilot in the IJAAF and thus graduated from the Kumagaya Flight School in 1938.[1] He then became assistant instructor at the very same school.

World War II

In late 1941, Ogawa was assigned to the 70th Sentai which had remained in combat in Manchuria until late 1944. At this time, his sentai had been equipped with the Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki fighter. Here, Makoto Ogawa gained valuable experience utilizing fighter aircraft and was prepared for what was to come. By 1944, the bombing campaign waged by American B-29 bombers over Japan had become serious, cities and factories were being levelled every day and Japanese industry could simply not keep up with demand due to these obstructions. So in 1944, Ogawa and the 70th Sentai were assigned back to the main island of Japan and fought the oncoming waves of bombers.

Reequipped with the newest Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate fighters, Ogawa quickly discovered critical weaknesses of the American B-29s and exploited them. His favored tactic was to attack the aircraft from either the front or the underside, though on one occasion, Ogawa's risky attack in daylight has downed two B-29s at once as one's own bombs had exploded from the attack.[2] Over time his aerial kills stacked, in total, he downed seven B-29 bombers and two P-51 Mustang escort fighters. All his kills combined made a total of nine, turning Ogawa into the top ace of the 70th Sentai. For his bravery in combat, he was awarded the Bukōchōshō, a medal which was awarded particularly to Japanese pilots who intercepted American bombers during raids. 

Later Life

After the war, Ogawa retired from the IJAAF following its disbandment. From that point on, he became a business man and continues out his work to this day in Tokyo where he currently resides. 

References

  1. http://www.warbirdcolors.com/get_aces.asp?J
  2. Hata, Ikuhiko and Izawa, Yasuho. Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units and their Aces:1931-1945. Grub Street Publishing, Page 237
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