Lt George Schwartz Welch and 2nd Lt Kenneth M Taylor are credited with being the first ‘Aces’ of World War II. Welch and Taylor were both awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Welch and Taylor were at Wheeler when the attack on Pearl Harbor began; they had previously flown their fighters to the airfield at Haleiwa as part of a plan to disperse the squadron’s planes away from Wheeler.
Both men raced in their cars to Haleiwa Field completing the 16-mile trip in about 15 minutes. Once in the air they spotted a large number of aircraft in the direction of ʻEwa and Pearl Harbor. “There were between 200 and 300 Japanese aircraft,” said Taylor; “there were just two of us!” Lt Welch was credited with a total of four Japanese planes shot down and Lt Taylor downed two.