A World War II fighter pilot who gained fame for dramatically flying beneath the Eiffel Tower's arches to take down a German aircraft has died aged 92. William Overstreet Jr. died on Sunday at a hospital in Roanoke, Virginia, according to his obituary, but there was no indication of the cause of his death.
Overstreet's famously flew his P-51C 'Berlin Express' beneath the Eiffel Tower in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, which has been credited with lifting the spirits of French Resistance troops on the ground.
For his valiant service, the French ambassador to the United States presented Overstreet with France's Legion of Honor at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford in 2009.
Before the ceremony, Overstreet had previously said that, if he lived long enough to receive the Legion of Honor, he would be accepting it in memory of his fallen brothers.
In particular, he wanted to pay tribute to a friend, Eddy Simpson, who died fighting the Nazis on the ground so his comrades, including Overstreet, could escape.
After the award was pinned to his lapel, Overstreet said: 'If I said, "Thank you," it wouldn’t be enough,' before adding: 'What more than "thank you" do you need?'
Overstreet was also awarded hundreds of other medals for his service in the 357th squadron of the U.S. Army Air Forces, his obituary said.
He was born in Clifton Forge, Virginia in 1921 and after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Air Corps as a fighter pilot.
By February 1942, he was a private and sent to California for flight training; here, his instructors prepared him for the unexpected mid-flight by cutting the engine as he landed.