Richard I. Bong Memorial Scholarship
Richard Ira Bong is known as many things – America’s reluctant hero, America’s Ace of Ace’s – but above all, he should be known as someone who never hesitated to serve his country. Richard Bong grew up in Poplar, Wisconsin and enjoyed many activities during his younger years. He did well in high school, helped on the farm, and played baseball, basketball and hockey. He also played clarinet in the school band, and loved to fish and hunt.
Richard Bong attended the Superior State Teacher’s College, now known as UW-Superior, in 1938 and started his flight training. He would go on to gain 40 airborne victories (beating the previous World War I record) and receive many medals and decorations including the Congressional Medal of Honor. Surprisingly enough, Richard thought himself a poor gunner and a lousy shot, a claim far from the truth.
Major Richard Ira Bong married his sweetheart Marjorie in 1945. Marjorie also attended Superior State Teacher’s College, which is where the two met. Unfortunately, only 6 months after the couple had been married, Richard Bong was killed in a routine flight check for a jet fighter plane.
The Richard I. Bong memorial scholarship is offered to an upperclassman that is also in AFROTC. But it can also be offered to a student from Northwest Wisconsin, who volunteers at the Richard Bong Heritage Center. The Heritage Center opened to the public on September 24, 2002. Their mission “to honor the memory of Major Bong and all the veterans of WWII and later conflicts whose sacrifices maintain our Freedoms” remains evident in their continual progress today.