James B. Morehead, a retired Air Force colonel and highly decorated World War II combat ace who earned the sobriquet "Wildman" for his brazen air attacks in the Pacific, and who later became a globe-trotting big-game hunter, died March 11 at a hospital in Petaluma, Calif. He was 95.

He had complications from a stroke, said his daughter, Myrna Moritz.

Behind the stick of a P-40 Warhawk, Morehead flew with fearless ease and wreaked terror on Japanese planes with his peerless accuracy.

For his aerial bravery during World War II, he twice received the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest military award for valor that could be given to a member of the Army Air Forces.

He credited his eight kills during World War II to having grown up during the Depression on an Oklahoma farm, where his rifle supplemented his family's meager suppers.

He joined the Army in 1940 and trained as a pilot in Northern California.

"Until I flew," he told journalist George Weller during World War II, "I was never higher above the ground than the seat of a farm cultivator." He became known as a "wild man" for his willingness to take risks. On one occasion, he flew a sortie to Sacramento upside down the entire way.

Another time, he and a fellow pilot collided in midair. Morehead jumped out of his cockpit and parachuted 400 feet to safety. The other pilot, 2nd Lt. William E. Scott, 22, died in the crash.

Morehead was recuperating from his injuries when the Japanese bombarded Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He later said the audacity of the attack motivated him to seek vengeance in the skies.

His opportunity came on April 25, 1942, in the air above Darwin, Australia, where he spotted a formation of about 30 Japanese bombers and a complement of fighter planes.

Although greatly outnumbered -- his unit had only eight planes -- Morehead seized the opportunity for a surprise attack.

Morehead said he approached air combat with the same tactics he used for hunting, by stalking his prey from a distance before going in for the kill.

On D-Day -- June 6, 1944 -- Morehead earned his eighth and final kill of the war by shooting down a German Messerschmitt fighter plane over Romania.

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