Ken Bullock, 81, a retired auto parts marketing manager whose World War II exploits as a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter pilot were featured in a History Channel program last year, died Nov. 15 at Inova Alexandria Hospital after a heart attack.
The television show, "Thunderbolts: Conquest of the Reich," which aired in May 2001, featured footage of some of Mr. Bullock's low-level air strikes in Germany as U.S. forces supported Gen. George S. Patton's crossing of the Rhine. In all, Mr. Bullock flew 47 combat missions in Europe with the 378th Fighter Squadron, 362nd Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force.
Much of the aerial dog fighting and strafing were filmed in color in response to orders to document the closing months of the war.
Mr. Bullock, who lived in Alexandria for 48 years, was interviewed for the program and provided narration for the film.
He began his career in the Washington area in the 1950s as a branch manager with Seaboard Finance Co., a financial services firm. He was a marketing manager for Bap-Geon Imported Car Parts in Merrifield for about 15 years until the mid-1980s. He worked part time for RTM Distributors in Chantilly until his retirement in 1995.
He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Annandale, Minn. He studied mathematics and physics at St. Cloud (Minn.) Teachers College and learned to fly at a local airport. He entered the Army Air Corps in 1941 and initially served as a test pilot at Wright-Patterson Field in Dayton, Ohio.
After the war, he returned to Minnesota to teach flying and provide crop dusting and air cargo services. He also played piano in the Jive Bombers music group. He later helped run an air cargo company in Richmond before settling in Alexandria in 1954.
His wife of 53 years, Dana Bullock, died in 2000.
Survivors include two children, Mondie Gallagher of Chantilly and Roger Bullock of Alexandria; two sisters; and six grandchildren.