Koldunov Alexander Ivanovich
From February 1941 in the ranks of the Red Army. In March 1943 he graduated from the Kachinsky military aviation school of pilots. From March to May 1943 he was a pilot of the 8th ZIAP Air Force of the Volga Military District (Bagai-Baranovka village, Volsky district of the Saratov region).
Since May 1943, Sergeant A. I. Koldunov was on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War as part of the 866th IAP. He held the positions of senior pilot, flight commander, deputy commander and squadron commander. He flew the Yak-1, Yak-9 and Yak-3. Fought on the Southwestern and 3rd Ukrainian fronts. Participated in the Izyum-Barvenkovskaya, Donbass, Zaporozhye, Nikopol-Krivoy Rog, Odess Iasi-Kishinev, Belgrade, Budapest and Vienna operations.
A. I. Koldunov won his first victory on July 18, 1943, shooting down an enemy Yu-87 over the Seversky Donets. On September 1, 1943, his plane was shot down on takeoff by a pair of Me-109s, he himself was slightly wounded by a fragment of an exploding shell in the lower back. However, the young pilot did not lose his head: turning off the engine, he planned and carefully landed the fighter next to the airfield. After 2 days, he left the hospital and continued combat work. Already in the autumn of 1943, the pilot brought the number of his personal victories to 10, was appointed flight commander, and became a recognized ace in the regiment and division.
By May 24, 1944, the squadron commander of the 866th Fighter Aviation Regiment (288th Fighter Aviation Division, 17th Air Army, 3rd Ukrainian Front), Captain A.I. 15 and as part of a pair of 1 enemy aircraft. By decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of August 2, 1944, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union with the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal (No. 3464).
In the autumn of 1944, A.I. Koldunov was handed over a nominal Yak-3 with the inscription: “From the collective farmer Bogachenko G.A.” On this machine, he fought until the last day, later it was transferred to the Romanian government and was in the Bucharest House of Pioneers.
In the winter of 1944-1945. A. I. Koldunov continued the list of victories in the battles over Hungary, in 3 months he shot down 15 enemy aircraft. In February 1945, he headed the “air clearing group”, which included Heroes of the Soviet Union captains R. I. Sidorenko and N. G. Surnev, as well as senior lieutenant M. I. Shishov and lieutenant S. G. Shamonov. Until the end of the war, these pilots shot down 32 enemy aircraft without their own losses. The Soviet ace won his last victories west of Vienna on April 11, 1945.
By May 9, 1945, the squadron commander of the 866th Fighter Aviation Regiment (288th Fighter Aviation Division, 17th Air Army, 3rd Ukrainian Front), Major A. I. Koldunov, made 412 sorties, personally shot down 46 and as part of a pair of 1 enemy aircraft. On February 23, 1948, by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, he was awarded the second Gold Star medal.
After the war he continued to serve in the Air Force. Until March 1946, he continued to command the squadron of the 866th IAP (in the Southern Group of Forces, Bulgaria), flew the Yak-3. In 1952 he graduated from the Air Force Academy (in Monino). In July 1952 – April 1955. was the commander of the 394th IAP (in the North Caucasian Military District and the North Caucasian Air Defense Army; Grozny city), in April 1955 – September 1958. – Commander of the 86th IAD PVO (in the Kuibyshev Air Defense Corps). He flew the MiG-15bis and MiG-17.
In 1960 he graduated from the Military Academy of the General Staff. From July 1960 – Deputy Commander, and in January 1962 – August 1965. – Commander of Aviation of the Baku Air Defense District. Until 1965 he flew jet planes. In August 1965 – July 1968. – 1st Deputy Commander of the Baku Air Defense District (headquarters – in the city of Baku, Azerbaijan), in July 1968 – November 1970. – Commander of the 11th separate air defense army (Khabarovsk city). November 1970 – December 1975 – Commander of the troops of the Moscow Air Defense District.
From December 1975 – 1st Deputy Commander-in-Chief, in July 1978 – June 1987. – Commander-in-Chief of the Air Defense Forces of the country and Deputy Minister of Defense of the USSR. In 1978-1987. simultaneously Commander of the Air Defense Forces and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Joint Armed Forces of the States Parties to the Warsaw Pact. Air Chief Marshal (10/31/1984). He was removed from his post by M. S. Gorbachev after the scandalous flight of M. Rust on a Cessna plane and its landing on Red Square in Moscow on May 28, 1987. Since August 1987 – General Inspector of the Group of General Inspectors of the USSR Ministry of Defense. Since May 1992, Air Chief Marshal AI Koldunov has been retired. He lived in Moscow. He died on June 7, 1992, and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery (plot 11).
A bronze bust of A. I. Koldunov was installed in the village of Moshchinovo (opened on October 7, 1950), in the 1970s it was transferred to the city of Monastyrshchina (Smolensk region). In Khabarovsk, a memorial plaque was installed on the house in which he lived.