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Pokryshkin, Aleksandr Ivanovich
Born Feb. 21 (Mar. 6), 1913, in Novosibirsk. Soviet military commander, marshal of aviation (1972), three times Hero of the Soviet Union (May 24, 1943, Aug. 28, 1943, and Aug. 19, 1944). Member of the CPSU since 1942. Son of a worker.
Pokryshkin has been in the Soviet Army since 1932. He graduated from a school for aviation technicians in 1933, from the Kacha Military Aviation School for Pilots in 1939, from the M. V. Frunze Military Academy in 1948, and from the Military Academy of the General Staff in 1957. In the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Pokryshkin served from 1941 as deputy commander and commander of a squadron, assistant commander and commander of the 16th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, and commander of the 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Division. He saw combat on the Southern, Northern Caucasus, and First, Second, and Fourth Ukrainian fronts. He made over 600 combat flights, fought 156 air battles, and shot down 59 enemy aircraft.
After the war, Pokryshkin held responsible positions in the air defense forces, serving as deputy commander in chief of the air defense forces from 1968 to 1972 and chairman of the Central Committee of the All-Union Voluntary Society for Cooperation With the Army, Air Force, and Navy of the USSR (DOSAAF) from January 1972. He was a deputy to the second through ninth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
Pokryshkin has been awarded four Orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, four Orders of the Red Banner, two Orders of Suvorov Second Class, two Orders of the Red Star, various medals, and four foreign orders. He is the author of A Fighter’s Wings (1944) and The Sky of War (1966).