Paul B Dowd, a native of Milwaukee, enlisted in the USAAF in March, 1942 and after training was assigned to the 15th Air Force in Italy. Dowd flew 56 combat missions in the P47 Thunderbolt and later the P51 Mustang while assigned to the 325th Fighter Group, known as the famous “Checkertail Clan.”
Most of Lt Dowd’s combat missions were flown over Italy and the Balkans escorting heavy bombers or participating in fighter sweeps. Dowd’s personal aircraft for most of these missions was christened “Spirit of Milwaukee County” with appropriate artwork applied to the nose. His Crew Chief was SSgt Stanley Stefanowski was also a native of South Milwaukee.
Following the end of World War II, Paul Dowd joined the Wisconsin Air National Guard and was assigned to the 126th Fighter Squadron based at General Mitchell Field, Milwaukee.
When activated for the Korean War, Captain Dowd was assigned to the 36th Fighter-Bomber Squadron and flew 100 combat missions in Lockheed F-80 jets. He returned to the Air National Guard in Milwaukee after the war and eventually became the Commander of the 126th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and retired from the Air National Guard in 1974 as the Director of Operations for the 128th Air Refueling Group His history is highlighted at the "Mitchell Gallery of Flight" inside General Mitchell Field in Milwaukee.