The 100th anniversary of Air Marshall, outstanding pilot and three times Hero of Soviet Union, Alexander Pokryshkin, was celebrated on March 6th 2013.
Alexander Ivanovich was born on March 6 th 1913 in Novonikolaevsk (the present Novosibirsk) in the family of a working man. He left the school after the 7 th form and was working as a mechanic at a plant. He joined the Red Army in 1932. He graduated from Perm-based school for aircraft maintenance technicians in 1933, and from Kachinsk military aviation school – in 1939.
He obtained a rank of senior lieutenant in 1941. Until February 1944 he was fighting as part of 55 th fighter aviation regiment (16 th guards fighter aviation regiment) and then from April 1944 to May 1945 – as part of 9 th guards fighter aviation division. He piloted MiG-3, I-16, Yak-1 and P-39 Airacobra.
The squadron commander of the 16 th guards fighter aviation regiment (216 th composite aviation division, 4 th Air Army, North Caucasian Front), captain A.I. Pokryshkin has performed 354 sorties, participated in 54 aerial fights, shot down 13 enemy aircraft personally and 6 more ones – within a group.
He was given a title of Hero of the Soviet Union on May 24 th 1943 for courage and martial prowess demonstrated during fights with the enemy.
Major of the Guards, A.I. Pokryshkin, commander of the same regiment (9 th guards fighter aviation division), was awarded with the second Gold Star on August 24 th 1943 for performing 455 sorties and shooting down 30 enemy aircraft personally.
The acting commander of the 16 th guards fighter aviation regiment (the same division, 8 th Air Army, 1 st Ukrainian Front), Lieutenant Colonel of the Guards, A.I. Pokryshkin, was the first person in the country to be awarded with the third Gold Star. He was awarded with the medal on August 19 th 1944 for performing 550 sorties, participating in 137 aerial fights and shooting down 53 enemy aircraft personally.
After the war he started assimilating jet aircraft. He was one of the first pilots of MiG-9 and other jet fighters. He graduated from M.V. Frunze Military Academy in 1948, he held position of Deputy Commander-in-Chief of USSR air defense in 1968 - 1971. He obtained a rank of Air Marshall in 1972. He was the chairman of the Central Committee of Voluntary Association for Assistance to Army, Air Force and Navy in 1972 - 1981. He became a member of Inspectorate-General in 1981. He was a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of USSR – 10 convocations. He was the member of presidium of the Supreme Soviet of USSR in 1979 - 1984.
He died on November 13 th 1985. He was buried in Moscow at Novodevichye Cemetery.
The Airacobra operated by Pokryshkin during the war is owned by one of the French private aviation museums. MiG-17 operated by Pokryshkin after the war is demonstrated in Museum of the Great Patriotic War (Kishinev) . He is the author of following books: “Krilya Istrebyitelya” (Wings of the fighter), “Tvoya pochetnaya obyazannost” (Your honorable duty), "Nebo Voyni" (The sky of war), "Poznat sebya v boyu" (To know yourself in battle), "Taktika istrebitelnoy aviatsii" (Tactics of the fighter aviation).
He was awarded with the following orders: Order of Lenin (6), Order of the October Revolution, Order of the Red Banner (4), Order of Suvorov – second class (2), Order of the Patriotic War – first class, Order of the Red Star (2), Order "For Service to the Motherland in the Armed Forces of USSR" – third class; medals and foreign orders.
The name of Air Marshal A.I. Pokryshkin has been immortalized by the names of the streets and squares, educational institutions, monuments and memorial tablets located in Moscow, Rzhev, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Novosibirsk, Novokuznetsk and other cities of Russia and former USSR. A small planet №3348 discovered by the Soviet astronomer, N.I. Chernikh; an island located in the Far East and the new station of Novosibirsk subway were named after Pokryshkin.