Major Walter Oesau, Stab/JG 2, Beaumonte-le-Roger, France, June 1943.
Walter “Gulle” Oesau (28 June 1913 – 11 May 1944) was a German World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1934 until his death in 1944. He rose to command Jagdgeschwader 1, which was named in his honor after his death.
He served with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War, with 3 Staffel of Jagdgruppe 88 (3./J 88), claiming 8 aircraft during the campaign, becoming one of only 28 people to earn the award of the Spanish Cross in Gold and Diamonds.
At the start of World War II, Oesau was given command of 2 Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 20. The group was moved to the Eastern Front at the start of the Invasion of Poland, moving back to the Western Front later as the redesignated III Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 51 (III./JG 51). After his first victory of World War II in the Battle of France, Oesau operated on both the Western and Eastern Fronts, where he was wounded and received the Silver Wound Badge.
He returned to operations as Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1). He was killed in action on 11 May 1944 aged 30. JG 1 was given the suffix “Oesau” in his honor.