Died when: 88 years 215 days
Star Sign: Aquarius
Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert (2 February 1919 – 5 September 2007) was a German Luftwaffe military aviator during World War II, a fighter ace credited with 174 enemy aircraft shot down in 715 combat missions. The majority of his victories were claimed over the Eastern Front, with 51 in the Mediterranean theatre and 20 over the Western Front. Born in Cologne-Lindenthal, Reinert volunteered for military service in the National Socialist Luftwaffe in 1938. Following flight training, he was posted to Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing). He fought in Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and claimed his first aerial victory on 8 August 1941. He received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross following his 53rd aerial victory. Accumulating further victories, he surpassed the century mark in October 1942 for which he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. In November 1942, his unit was transferred to the Mediterranean theatre in support of the Afrika Korps. There, Reinert claimed 51 victories against the Western Allies. In August 1943, he was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 1. Staffel (1st squadron) of JG 77, and in February 1944 the 8. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27—27th Fighter Wing) based in France. Reinert was then appointed Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) of IV. Gruppe (4th group) of JG 27 and, credited with 174 aerial victories, received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords on 30 January 1945. He then received conversion training to the then new Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter and was posted to Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7—7th Fighter Wing), an all-jet fighter wing. In 1956, Reinert joined the newly established German Air Force of West Germany. He retired in 1972, his final rank was Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel), and died on 5 September 2007 in Bad Pyrmont.