Omer Lévesque
2002

Fighter pilote

Omer Lévesque joined the RCAF during WWII and was sent in 1941 to No. 55 Operational Training Unit in Scotland, where he trained on the Hawker Hurricane. At his request, he was then posted to the famous RCAF 401 squadron in England flying Spitfire Vs, and soon found himself fighting the Germans over France. At that time, the loss rate of the Allied forces was incredible. One day, his whole squadron was almost decimated, losing nine pilots in one sweep. On November 22, 1941, in another fierce encounter with the Germans, Lévesque became the first to shoot down an unknown, formidable new fighter plane, soon to be identified as the Focke-Wulf 190. At the debriefing session, Lévesque gave the Intelligence Officer a remarkably accurate sketch he made from memory of the new aircraft. Copies of the sketch were distributed to all squadrons.

As an exchange officer with the USAF in 1950, he became the first Canadian to fly the F-86 Sabre and the first to fly operations in the Korea war, taking part in 71 missions.

Wild dog fights continued for weeks until one day in February 1942, when suddenly short of ammunition, he was shot down over the English Channel. Rescued by German sailors, Lévesque spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft III, a prison specifically created for Allied Air Force officers. In 1946, Lévesque re-enlisted with the RCAF. For a while, he flew C-47 Dakota then was posted to 410 Squadron in Saint-Hubert, flying Vampire jet fighter planes in the Blue Devils aerobatic team. As an exchange officer with the USAF in 1950, he became the first Canadian to fly the F-86 Sabre and the first to fly operations in the Korea war, taking part in 71 missions. He was also the first Commonwealth pilot to shoot down a Mig-15. Lévesque was then assigned to various postings in Canada and abroad. He worked at Air Defence Command in Saint-Hubert. He also did a tour with the International Control Commission in Vietnam and worked at NORAD. Returning to civilian life in 1965, he served 22 years for Transport Canada on the Air Transport Committee in Ottawa.

Honors

Distinguished Flying Cross (États-Unis)

Air Medal (États-Unis)

Queen’s Commendation

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