Elwyn Guido Righetti

Lieutenant-Colonel Elwyn G. Righetti, a pilot of the 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group.

Object Number - FRE 165 - Lieutenant-Colonel Elwyn G. Righetti, a pilot of the 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group.

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.

DSC Citation:

"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


  • Aircraft Type: P-51 Mustang
  • Nicknames: Katydid
  • Unit: 55th Fighter Group 338th Fighter Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-51 Mustang
  • Nicknames: Katydid
  • Unit: 55th Fighter Group Headquarters (55th Fighter Group)


  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Bures / RAF Wormingford / RFC Wormingford / USAAF Station 159 / Wormingford Landing Ground


Event Location Date Description


San Luis Obispo, CA, USA 17 April 1915


Riesa, Germany 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


Date7 Oct 2014 14:29:48

Added date of birth.

Date6 Oct 2014 10:15:24
ContributorLucy May

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/

Date3 Oct 2014 16:00:27

Added awards but number of Air Medal OLCs not on drop down.

Date3 Oct 2014 10:33:48

Added details and media.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:09:02

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Fighter Aces of the U. S. A. and Mustang Aces of the Eighth Air Force, MACR 13916

Elwyn Guido Righetti: Gallery (8 items)