In 1967, Komsomol members of the Azov Optical and Mechanical Plant (AOMZ), in their free time, organized a teenage youth club “Patriot” in a residential area of the factory. At the opening ceremony, the Hero of the Soviet Union Aleksey Petrovich Maresyev was elected the honorary president of the club.
Alexey Petrovich Maresyev was born on May 20, 1916 in the city of Kamyshin. He began his career as a turner at a factory. Studied in absentia at the Moscow Aviation Institute.
In 1934 he took part in the Komsomol construction of an aircraft plant (Komsomolsk-on-Amur), where he also worked in a local flying club.
In 1937 he was called up for military service in the aviation border troops of the USSR, in the Pacific border district (Sakhalin island). In 1939 he was sent to the Chita school of military pilots, which was soon transferred to the city of Bataysk, Rostov region.
Upon graduation in 1940, the Bataysk Aviation School named after. A.K. Serov received the rank of junior lieutenant and was left as an instructor. In 1941 he was mobilized from Bataysk to the front, in the 296th Fighter Aviation Regiment.
Its first sortie took place on 23 August 1941 in the area of Krivoy Rog.
Passed through the Southwestern and Northwestern fronts.
In 1942 he was appointed flight commander of the 580th Fighter Aviation Regiment. Particularly distinguished himself and opened his battle score by shooting down 3 enemy aircraft.
On April 5, 1942, during the operation “Demyansky Cauldron” (Novgorod Region), in an unequal air battle with superior enemy forces, his Yak-1 plane was shot down. Having been wounded, the pilot held out to his front line, but while trying to make an emergency landing, he fell from a height of 30 meters in a snowy forest.
For eighteen days a pilot with broken legs crawling through the snow through forests and swamps made his way to his own. A. Maresyev, instead of water, ate snow, ate bark, cones and moss, spent the night in ravines, the bottom of which he lined with spruce forest, and covered himself with it. He was noticed by residents from the village of Plav, Valdai district, brought by carriage to their house, and then sent by plane to a Moscow hospital.
Doctors saved the life of A. Maresyev, but were forced to amputate both legs. In a specialized hospital in the city of Kuibyshev, he was put on prostheses and transferred to the sanatorium. Chkalov. There he began to stubbornly prepare to return to duty and fly.
At the beginning of 1943 he passed a medical commission and was sent to a flight school, where he made his first test flight after being wounded and got sent to the battle front. In June 1943, on the eve of the Battle of Kursk, he arrived at the 63rd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment. After several successful sorties, paired with the squadron commander A.M. Chislov, he received well-deserved trust and the opportunity to go on combat missions.
In an air battle on July 19, 1943, he shot down a German dive bomber. The next day, July 20, in a battle with superior enemy forces, Maresyev destroyed two enemy fighters and saved the lives of two Soviet pilots.
From October 1943 he fought as an assistant commander of the 63rd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, then became a navigator in the air rifle service.
The military glory of A. Maresyev spread throughout the entire front. This strong-willed and courageous man was written about in the newspapers. His name has already become known throughout the country. War correspondents often came to the regiment.
In March 1945, A. Maresyev moved to the post of inspector-pilot in the management of universities of the Main Formation and Combat Training of the Red Army Air Force.
During the war, he flew 86 sorties, shot down 10 enemy aircraft, three before being wounded, seven after.
In June 1942, he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for three German planes shot down. On August 24, 1943, for saving the lives of two pilots and 3 shot down German fighters, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union (Gold Star No. 1102).
After the war, in peacetime, he rose from major to the rank of colonel. In 1946 he went into the reserve, took up education, graduated from the Academy of Social Sciences and the Higher Party School. He defended his thesis in history. In the 1950s, he flew on a training aircraft as an instructor for a special Air Force school in the city of Moscow.
He constantly kept himself in excellent physical shape, went in for sports: cycling, skiing, swimming. Set a personal best by swimming the Volga: 2 km 200 m in 55 minutes.
In the post-war period, the example of A. Maresyev was widely used to educate the younger generation. His feat formed the basis of Boris Polevoy’s book “The Story of a Real Man”, which was included in the course of Soviet school literature. A film was later made based on the book.
In recent years, he worked as executive secretary of the Soviet Committee of War Veterans in the city of Moscow. He was very often invited, organized meetings with young people. The feat he accomplished is forever inscribed in the history of our country.
1949 – participant of the First World Peace Congress in Paris.
1960 – the book by A. P. Maresyev “On the Kursk Bulge” was published.
1960 – The Bolshoi Theater premiered the opera “The Story of a Real Man” by S. Prokofiev.
1967 – participated in the ceremony of lighting the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
1989 – People’s Deputy of the USSR.
He was elected an honorary citizen of the cities: Stara Zagora (Bulgaria), Bataysk (Rostov region), Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Orel.