Joe Foss, one of the U.S.’s greatest World War II flying aces, died last week at age 87. Foss shot down 26 Japanese aircraft during the Battle for Guadalcanal. Of their service branch, only fellow Marine Gregory “Pappy” Boyington shot down more planes, with 28 victories — but historians argue that since six of his silhouettes came as a volunteer for the Flying Tigers in China before the U.S. joined the war, the real honor may be due Foss. Foss never let the second-place standing keep him from rising to the top in his civilian endeavors. He became governor of his native South Dakota in the 1950s, was the first commissioner of the American Football League and president of the National Rifle Association. A memorial service will be held Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz.