Alexander Pokryshkin Only Second World War Pilot Saluted by Enemy

On March 6, the legendary pilot, three times Hero of the Soviet Union, Alexander Pokryshkin would have been 90. Relatives, friends and near ones of the great flyer, as well as people who fought during the Second World War, gathered at Moscow House of veterans of wars and the armed forces to commemorate the great man recognised in his native city of Novosibirsk (Eastern Siberia) as "the 20th century man". Many warm words were said about the hero. Veterans recalled his exploits and wartime feats. Marshal of the Air Force Ivan Pstygo emphasised that Pokryshkin was not only an outstanding fighter pilot, but also one of the developers of fighter aviation tactics. "Assault planes made their appearance only thanks to Pokryshkin," he added. The talent of the fighter was appreciated even by the enemy which during the war saluted his plane.

Veterans mentioned not only the military services rendered by Pokryshkin. To his associates he will always remain the most honest and conscientious man, "a model of morality". Also, as Colonel Alexander Nikonov said, for young people Pokryshkin is a worthy example of a defender of the Fatherland.

The festival devoted to Pokryshkin is taking place not only in Moscow, but also in the flyer's native city - Novosibirsk, and also in places of his military glory - Krasnodar and Kaliningrad.

Pokryshkin was born on March 6, 1913 in Novosibirsk. In the air force he worked his way up from a military technician to a marshal of the air force. During the Second World War he flew 650 missions, carried out 156 fights and personally shot down 59 enemy planes. Pilots of Pokryshkin's 9th Guards fighter air division brought down 1,147 enemy aircraft. In the war he was awarded three Gold Stars of the Hero, many orders of the USSR and another 19 decorations of Asian, European and American countries. It ought to be noted that during the war none of Pokryshkin's wingmen was killed.

Pokryshkin died in 1985 and was buried at the Novodevichy cemetery - a Moscow pantheon.