Elwyn Guido RighettiMilitary ROLL OF HONOUR
IWM, Roger Freeman Collection
Righetti held the rank of Major when he joined the 55th Fighter Group but it would only be a matter of days before he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He also spent just a couple of days with the 38th Fighter Squadron, before going to the 338th Fighter Squadron.
Righetti went down on his 30th birthday, 4 days before the end of hostilities. He was Missing in Action (MIA) when his P-51 Mustang (serial number 44-72227, nicknamed 'Katydid') force landed near Riesa, Germany. Having survived the landing, he was likely murdered by German civilians.
He had a score of 7.5 kills.
"Colonel (Air Corps) Elwyn G. Righetti, United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane in the Headquarters, 55th Fighter Group, EIGHTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on 7 April 17, 1945, flying escort for a bombing mission over Dresden, Germany. Colonel Righetti's unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 8th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces."
General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Air Forces in Europe, General Orders No. 134 (1945)
See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.
Units served with
|San Luis Obispo, CA, USA
|17 April 1915
|17 April 1945
|Righetti survived the force landing of his P-51D, but was never seen or heard from again. He was likely murdered by German civilians. The following report was made by Lt. Carroll D. Henry on LtCol. Righetti's last known words and movements: "He then made one more pass from west to east destroying a FW-190. I called him telling him that I was tacking on. He acknowledged saying that he was heading out on 270 degrees. I was about 3,000 feet and over-ran him due to excess speed gained while letting down. He was at six o'clock to me and I rolled out on 270 degrees. I chopped my throttle and when I looked back I couldn't locate him. About 30 seconds later he called in saying, 'I broke my nose but I am OK. I got nine today. Tell my family I am OK, and it has been swell working with you'. I made one orbit and couldn't locate him on the ground. Being by myself I then headed out."
|Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial
|No Known Grave Tablets of the Missing Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Added date of birth.
Combined information and connections from different entries for Elwyn G Rightetti using Ted Damick's VIII Fighter Command pilots list, Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database, MACR 13916 and correspondence with Peter Randall of http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/
Added awards but number of Air Medal OLCs not on drop down.
Added details and media.