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Kozhedub, Ivan Nikitovich
Born June 8, 1920, in the village of Obrazheevka, present-day Shostka Raion, Sumy Oblast. Soviet pilot; colonel general of aviation (Apr. 29, 1970), three times Hero of the Soviet Union (Feb. 4, 1944, Aug. 19, 1944, and Aug. 18, 1945). Member of the CPSU since 1943. Son of a Ukrainian peasant.
Kozhedub graduated from a chemical engineering technicum in 1940. He served in the Soviet Army from Feburary 1940. After graduating from the Chuguev Military Aviation School for Pilots in 1941, he served as a pilot instructor at the Military Aviation School for Pilots from 1941 to 1942. In the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Kozhedub served from March 1943 on the Voronezh, Steppe, Second Ukrainian, and First Byelorussian fronts and was a senior pilot, commander of a flight and an air squadron, and deputy commander of a fighter aviation regiment. He made 330 combat flights, engaged in 120 air battles, and personally shot down 62 enemy aircraft.
After the war Kozhedub graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1949 and from the Military Academy of the General Staff in 1956. He was appointed first deputy commander of aviation of the Moscow Military District in January 1964. He has held leadership positions in the air force since 1971. He was a deputy to the second through fifth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He is the author of several books, including I Serve the Homeland (1949) and Loyalty to the Fatherland (1967). Kozhedub has been awarded the Order of Lenin, seven Orders of the Red Banner, the Order of Alexander Nevsky, two Orders of the Red Star, and various medals.