the fall of 1944, East fought against a German counteroffensive
in what is now known as the Battle of the Bulge. Becoming
a confirmed ace in March 1945, East would go on to claim
a total of 13 aerial kills against the German Luftwaffe
in World War II.
East stayed with the US Air Force after the conclusion
of World War II after amassing more than 350 hours of combat
time and 200 combat missions. He was reassigned to the
12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and began flying
one of the first jets to enter service with the United
States, the RF-80. At the outbreak of the Korean War, East
flew combat missions again in the RF-51D Mustang as well
as the RF-80 Shooting Star.
Upon his return to the states he commanded several different
tactical recon squadrons, one of which flew an additional
100 visual and photo missions over Cuba as ordered by President
John F. Kennedy. He retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant
Colonel in February 1965.
East was one of the most decorated fighter pilots during
World War II. He was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished
Flying Cross, and Air Medal with 36 Oak Leaf Clusters.
In 1955, The Guinness Book of World Records listed him
as having the highest number of repeat awards of combat
East resides in Oak Park, California with his wife and
has seven grandchildren.