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via Ken Peters c1942
|Pilot 1st Lt.
Lowell C. Lutton, O-433707 (MIA / KIA) Danforth, IL
MIA November 2, 1943 at 2:30pm
Lutton earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Silver Star, Soldier's Medal, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart (posthumously).
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 475th Fighter Group (475th FG) "Satan's Angels", 431st Fighter Squadron (431st FS) "Hades". No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines V-1710-89 serial number 42-30047 and V-1710-91 serial number 42-93929.
On November 2, 1943 took off from Dobobura Airfield led by 1st Lt. Wenige as one of four P-38s on a mission to escort bombers over Rabaul. Over the target, Lt. Lutton was singled out for attack by two or three enemy fighters and was saved from destruction by the valiant efforts of other members of his squadron. Despite this, Lt. Lutton continued to lead his men in passes against enemy aircraft attacking the bombers. Returning from the mission, Lutton was last seen in an overcast and storm with both engines functioning normally. Unable to reach Kiriwina, Lt. Lutton likely crashed or ditched into the sea south of Wide Bay.
Marion Kirby, who flew with Lowell on this mission noted:
"The way we exited Simpson Harbor (Rabaul) we flew right over one of the enemies largest airfields and from what I could gather, they were waiting on us. Lt. Weinege should know because he was in Lowell's flight. Our losses were relatively light until we were jumped as we were leaving. Like I mentioned earlier, I became separated as we were leaving the harbor. I arrived at Kiriwina Island, where we always gassed up, and counting the planes as they landed. That was the time I learned our losses had been heavy. We only had 9 planes that day, (the 431st FS) , on the mission, lost three of them."
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