Alexey Petrovich Maresyev (1916–2001) was a legendary WWII military aviator and a Hero of the Soviet Union.
He was born on 20 May 1916 in Kamyshin, Volgograd Oblast. After the 8th grade, Alexey Maresyev got a profession of a metalworker. He tried to enroll into a flight school twice but was rejected due to health problems.
In 1934, Alexey Maresyev went to Khabarovsk Krai to build Komsomolsk-on-Amur. There, he started to learn to fly in a local aero club. In1940, he finished a flight school in Bataisk holding the rank of Junior Lieutenant and was appointed an instructor. In August 1941, Alexey Maresyev was sent to the front.
Alexey Maresyev performed his first combat flight on 23 August 1941 and by March 1942, he had four shot-down German planes under his belt. On 4 April 1942, his aircraft was shot down near the Demyansk Pocket (the Novgorod Region) during a bombers covering operation and Alexey Maresyev was seriously wounded. He had to make a forced landing on the enemy-occupied territory and was working his way to the front line for 18 days; the pilot got severely frostbitten and lost both his legs.
It was only after a year passed since the injure that Alexey Maresyev managed to return to flying. On 20 July 1943, during a dog fight with the superior enemy forces he saved the lives of two Soviet pilots and shot down two enemy fighters. In total, he completed 86 mission sorties and shot down 11 enemy’s warplanes during the war.
On 24 August 1943, under a Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Alexey Maresyev was awarded a title of the Hero of the Soviet Union for exemplary accomplishment of combat missions, personal courage and a high order of airmanship.
After the war, Alexey Maresyev was appointed Executive Secretary of the Soviet War Veteran Committee. It was Alexey Maresyev that served a prototype for the character of The Story of a Real Man novel by Boris Polevoy.
The postage stamp depicts a portrait of Alexey Maresyev with La-5FN plane taking off in the background.
Additionally, FSUE PTC “Marka” has manufactured first day postmarks for Moscow, St Petersburg and Kamyshin (Volgograd Oblast), as well as an illustrated cover
with a stamp sheet and first day cover with Moscow cancellation inside.
A stamped postcard bearing “B” letter
featuring the monument to Alexey Maresyev in Kamyshin (Volgograd Oblast) has also been issued.
Design: R. Komsa.
Face value: 21.50 RUB.
Size of stamp: 42×30 mm, size of sheet: 155×170 mm.
Form of issue: sheet with illustrated margins of 10 (3×4) stamps and a coupon.
Circulation: 320,000 stamps (32,000 sheets).