Hitchcock, Tommy

Hitchcock, (Thomas, Jr.) Tommy

(1900–44) polo player, aviator; born in Aiken, S.C. Son of a 10-goal polo player – the highest ranking—he became an outstanding polo player by age 16. In World War I, he volunteered to fly in the Lafayette Escadrille; shot down behind German lines in March 1918, he escaped and made his way back to his squadron, which finished the war as a unit of the U.S. Air Service. After graduating from Harvard, he entered banking but concentrated his energies on polo. Between 1922 and 1940 he was rated as a 10-goal player 18 times and he secured his reputation as the greatest American polo player, arguably the greatest in the world. In 1942 he was commissioned as lieutenant colonel in the Army Air Corps; assigned command of a fighter group, he died while testing a P-51 in England.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.