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Stephen C. Ananian

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Stephen Carnig Ananian
1st Lt. Stephen C. Ananian
Born(1922-12-25)December 25, 1922
New York City, New York
DiedJune 28, 2017(2017-06-28) (aged 94)
Greenville, South Carolina
Arlington National Cemetery
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army Air Forces
Years of service1942–1945
RankFirst Lieutenant
Unit505th Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal (12)
Order of Vasa (Sweden)
RelationsIsabel G. Ananian (wife)
Other workPresident of 339th Fighter Group Association

Stephen Carnig Ananian (December 25, 1922 – June 28, 2017) was a fighter pilot in the United States Army Air Forces, during World War II. During the war, Ananian flew 63 combat missions, which included air operations over Nazi Germany, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. He was one of the few pilots to shoot down Luftwaffe jet-powered Me-262 aircraft, while flying a propeller-driven North American P-51 Mustang. Ananian's medals include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with eleven oak leaf clusters and the Order of Vasa by Sweden.[1]

Early life[edit]

Of Armenian descent, Ananian was born in New York City on Christmas Day 1922. His father, Carnig Harutune Ananian, was born in the village of Chomaklou in Ottoman Empire and moved to the United States after the Hamidian massacres and became a Oriental rug salesman in Watertown, New York. His mother, Dikranouhi (Hatounian) Ananian, was also born in Chomaklou, Ottoman Empire. Stephen Ananian had two sisters, Anna and Martha, and three brothers, Harry, Garabed and Charles.[2]

Ananian's early education started at Morris H. Weiss School in Brooklyn, New York. He attended David A. Boody Junior High School for a few months, then later Elementary School P.S. 189 in Washington Heights, New York. After his graduation from elementary school, he then went to George Washington High School and graduated from there on 1940.[3]

Military Career[edit]

During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Ananian was a student at New York University College of Engineering. The following day, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program. He was called to active service on February 3, 1943 and after completing boot camp, he began his primary flying training at Souther Field in flying the Stearman PT-17.

After graduating from primary training he moved on to basic training at Greenwood, Mississippi and advanced training at Jackson, Mississippi where he flew his first fighter plane, the P-40 Warhawk. Ananian was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings on March 12, 1944.[4]

World War II[edit]

RAF Fowlmere

After completing flight training, Ananian was assigned to the 505th Fighter Squadron of the 339th Fighter Group of the Eighth Air Force. It was based at RAF Fowlmere in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.

P-51 Mustangs of the 505th Fighter Squadron

On his first mission on October 25, 1944 during a bomber escort mission over Münster, the P-51B Mustang he was flying, was heavily damaged by flak. But he managed to fly the aircraft over the North Sea before bailing out of his damaged aircraft. He spent in the icy cold waters of the North Sea for 20 minutes, before being rescued by a Supermarine Walrus of RAF Search and Rescue Force. He later returned to his unit after his recovery.[5]

Messerschmitt Me-262

His best day came on February 09, 1945. During a bomber escort mission over Fulda, Germany, Ananian and his squadron mates spotted three Me-262 jet fighters coming up to attack a formation of B-17 Flying Fortresses and his fighter group. Ananian closed on the lead Me-262 and putting the K-14 gunsight & M2 Browning guns of his Mustang on it. He struck the Me-262 with a deflection burst. The jet's engine caught fire and it went smoking into the ground. The two other Me-262s made a quick retreat as other P-51s closed on them.[5]

This was his only aerial credit, during the war. He damaged two others in aerial combat. He was also credited in destroying one and damaging three aircraft on the ground, while strafing enemy airfields. [6]

"Baby Mine", coded 6N-K was his personal P-51, during his tour with 339th Fighter Group. Ananian left active duty on August 8, 1945 with the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

Later life[edit]

After the war, Ananian returned to the United States and married Isabel Gefairjian in 1946. They had two sons, Clifford and Stephen Jr. They also had five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Ananian worked for over 35 years in the photoengraving industry and participated in the early use and development of electronic image scanners and digital processing. He was one of the founders of the St. Thomas Armenian Church in Tenafly, New Jersey and served on the parish council for ten years. He was also active in the local school district and was President of the Regional Board of Education for two years. Ananian also served as president of the 339th Fighter Group Association for eight years and editor of the quarterly newsletter for seventeen years.[7]

During WWII AirPower Expo 2016, Ananian flew in the P-51 "Gunfighter", which was first time since 1945. [8]

Ananian was interviewed by Jeniffer Seavey of Wright State University as part of the WSU Veterans' Voices Project on October 27, 2016.[9]

Ananian died June 28, 2017 in Greenville, South Carolina. He was predeceased by his wife Isabel, who passed away on 2009. He is buried along with his wife in Arlington National Cemetery.[10]

Awards and Decorations[edit]

Ananian's decorations include:[4][11]

USAAF Wings.png  Army Air Forces Pilot Badge
Distinguished Flying Cross
Silver oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with two silver and bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Presidential Unit Citation with bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze campaign stars
World War II Victory Medal
Order of Vasa (Sweden)

See also[edit]

Other articles of the topics Biography AND World War II : Edwin Alfred Howard, Boone Guyton, César Luis González, Jesse Rutherford Jr., George Francis Grady, Clancy Lyall, Edwin William Hurst

Other articles of the topics World War II AND United States Air Force : Wendover Air Force Base

Other articles of the topics Biography AND United States Air Force : Paul A. Brown

Other articles of the topic Biography : Grady A. Dugas, M.D., [[:Muhammad|Muhammadمُحَمَّد]], Carmen Lozano Dumler, Ijaaz Ebrahim, Simcha Eichenstein, J. Frank McInnis, Kartik Aaryan

Other articles of the topic World War II : Chester Thomas O'Brien, Angus R. Goss, Albert William Tweedy Jr., Harry James Lowe Jr., George I. Falgout, Edward E. Gyatt, Neldon Theo French

Other articles of the topic United States Air Force : John C. Shumate, Richard Felman, Paul A. Brown, Wendover Air Force Base, Pete Heine
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  1. "Stephen C. Ananian †".
  2. Stephen C. Ananian. "Our Story" (PDF). ananian.com. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  3. Stephen C. Ananian. "Our Story" (PDF). ananian.com. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Veteran Tributes". veterantributes.org.
  5. 5.0 5.1 http://storage.ananian.com/pilots-tale.pdf
  6. Laurent, PARRA. "USA - ANANIAN Stephen C". www.cieldegloire.com.
  7. Stephen C. Ananian. "Our Story" (PDF). ananian.com. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  8. "P-51 Pilot Stephen Ananian - The National WWII Museum - New Orleans". The National WWII Museum - New Orleans.
  9. C., Ananian, Stephen; Jennifer, Seavey, (21 February 2018). "Stephen Ananian Interview for the Veterans' Voices Project".
  10. "Stephen Carnig Ananian's Obituary on The Greenville News". The Greenville News.
  11. Armenian General Benevolent Union (1951). Armenian-American veterans of World War II. "Our Boys" Committee. p. 153. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

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