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Acrojets Founder Dies: Retired Col. Leon Gray, a World War II reconnaissance pilot and founder of an aerial demonstration team that helped pave the way for the Thunderbirds, died Nov. 26 at age 94, reports the Arizona Daily Star. Gray led a reconnaissance group that flew P-38s over Europe during World War II, after which he flew jet fighters, winning the Bendix Trophy for fastest coast to coast flight in 1946. While commander of the former Williams AFB, Ariz., Gray created the F-80 team called the Acrojets, which disbanded during the Korean War.