Ace High

Today is the birthday of East Perry County’s most decorated World War II soldier, Captain Raymond Littge.  He was a fighter pilot who was credited with destroying 23.5 enemy planes.  He was born on October 18, 1923 in Altenburg, Missouri.  He was the son of Henry and Martha (Ahner) Littge.  Fairly recently, Raymond’s only sister, Altheda, died at the age of 107, and a story was written about the Littge family titled, She Survived All Those Brothers.  This photo, which was part of that article, shows the Littge siblings.

Littge family

The children are standing in order of age, with Altheda being the oldest, on the left.  Raymond was the second youngest.

Raymond attended Altenburg High School for two years, and then Perryville High School for two years.  He graduated in May of 1942.  One month after graduating, he enlisted in the military as part of the Army Air Corps.  Raymond’s accomplishments during World War II were monumental.  I do not have to go into detail here because his story is told online in several locations.  Here are three worthy accounts of his war record.  Click on them and you will be taken to another website to read about him.

Shortly after World War II came to an end, Raymond married his high school sweetheart.  Her name was Helen Fischer.  They were married at Helen’s church, Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, on November 25, 1945.  Here is their marriage license.

Ray Littge Fischer marriage license
Littge/Fischer marriage license

Helen was the daughter of Theo and Edna (Gerler) Fischer.  This couple would have two sons, George Preddy Littge and Raymond Littge II.  George’s name is a tribute to George Preddy, Ray’s flying partner in the war who was also an ace.  George Preddy had died in combat during the war.  Here is a photo of Raymond, Helen, and their two young children.

Ray and Helen Littge with children
Ray, Helen, and children

Here is a gallery of photos showing aspects of Raymond’s military service.  You can enlarge the thumbnails by clicking on them.


Stories float around Altenburg to this day about Captain Ray “buzzing” the city of Altenburg, amazing the school kids, tipping his wings, and shaking the buildings.

Raymond did not live long after the war.  He was still serving his country when, on May 20, 1949, the jet he was piloting crashed in Oregon.  Before the crash, Raymond had been training young flyers.

Ray’s body was brought back to Altenburg for burial.  Here is the application for a military marker for his grave.


You can see his gravestone in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg below.

Raymond Littge grave marker Trinity
Raymond Littge grave marker

Here is an article that tells the story of Raymond receiving the Distinguished Service Cross.

Ray Littge distinguished service cross

Raymond became qualified to be classified as an “ace”.

Ray Littge ace

Next is an accounting of all of Raymond’s military decorations.

Ray Littge decorations

After Raymond’s death, Helen would remarry and have one more child.  Her second husband was James Starnes, who was another war-decorated pilot.  I found this photo of Helen later in her life.  I guess you could say she was Raymond’s first “Miss Helen”.

Helen Fischer Littge Starnes
Helen (Fischer) (Littge) Starnes

Helen died in 2013 in Lutz, Florida.  Today would have been Raymond’s 94th birthday.  I know I wish he was still around so I could hear him tell some of his war stories.

Sadly, Ray Littge II also became a fighter pilot and was killed in a plane crash while on active duty in 1979.

Ray Littge II
Ray Littge II

Just one more story, this one about Miss Helen, one of Raymond’s planes.

Miss Helen history Littge

6 thoughts on “Ace High

  1. I am doing a paper on Lutheran freedom fighters and came across your article. It does not say if Mr. Littge was a member of the Lutheran church. If you can confirm this please let me know. I will appreciate any help.. Bill


  2. Reblogged this on and commented:

    One of the highlights of today’s program at our immigration conference will be the premiere showing of a film produced by our museum titled, Fearless. It is a video highlighting the life of a famous World War II fighter pilot, Ray Littge, who was born and raised in Altenburg. This video will be available in our gift shop in the near future. We are re-posting a story published on this blog in 2017 which details Ray Littge’s life story.


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