Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Kozhedub, Ivan Nikitovich (1920–1991)

Soviet air force officer, leading Soviet ace of the war, and later a marshal of the Soviet Union. Born in Obrzheyevka, Russia, on 8 June 1920, Ivan Kozhedub completed chemical engineering school in 1940 and immediately joined the air force. After graduating from the Aviation School for Pilots in 1941, he was a pilot instructor until the end of 1942.

Kozhedub saw combat on the Eastern Front during World War II, assigned to the Voronezh, Steppe, 2nd Ukrainian, and 1st Belorussian Fronts between March 1943 and May 1945. During this period, piloting LA-5s and LA-7s, Kozhedub flew 330 combat missions and was credited with 62 air-to-air kills in 120 dogfights, making him the leading Soviet ace of the war. He was given a Hero of the Soviet Union award three times. He commanded a squadron and then was deputy commander of a fighter wing.

Kozhedub remained in the service after the war. He led the 324th Fighter Air Division during the 1950–1953 Korean War and graduated from the Military Academy of the General Staff in 1956. He was then inspector of flight training between 1956 and 1966. As a colonel general, he was first deputy commander of aviation for the Moscow Military District in 1964. Promoted to marshal of aviation, he was a member of the Group of Military Inspectors from 1978 to 1985. Kozhedub died at his dacha in Mnino, outside Moscow, on 8 August 1991.

Spencer C. Tucker


Further Reading
Kozhedub, Ivan N. Sluzhu Rodine. Moscow: Detgiz, 1950.; Seaton, Albert, and Joan Seaton. The Soviet Army: 1918 to the Present. New York: New American Library, 1987.
 

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