Popkov, Vitalii Ivanovich
Born May 1, 1922, in Moscow. Lieutenant general of aviation (1968), twice Hero of the Soviet Union (Sept. 8, 1943, and June 27, 1945), Honored Pilot of the USSR (1967). Member of the CPSU since 1943.
Popkov joined the Soviet Army in 1940 and graduated from the Chuguev Military Aviation School for Pilots in 1941, from the Bataisk Military Aviation School in 1942, from what is now the Iu. A. Gagarin Air Force Academy in 1951, and from the Military Academy of the General Staff in 1964. In the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) he served from May 1942 on the Kalinin, Southwestern, and Third and First Ukrainian fronts as pilot, flight commander, and deputy commander and commander of a squadron of the Fifth Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment. Popkov made 300 combat flights and shot down 41 aircraft. After the war, he held responsible positions in the air force and has been in the main office of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR since 1964.
Popkov has been awarded three Orders of Lenin, two Orders of the Red Banner, the Order of the Patriotic War First and Second Class, the Order of Alexander Nevsky, the Order of the Red Star, and various medals.