2nd. Lt. John M. Cortright 355 FS

Discussion in '354th FG' started by Hartmann Dirk, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Dirk.
    Is this the same Obl. Hermann Graf, JG1/11, to who you refer?
    http://www.luftwaffe.cz/graf.html Seems this Obl. Graf was out of commission, wounded after 29 March 1944.

    The IDPF for Lt Cortright will be very interesting. First it should offer where in Germany he was initially interred. How long ago did you request his IDPF? As you likely know they can take a long time to arrive.

    Thank you for the coordinates of these two towns, I had the wrong Elze earlier. Here's an overview map. And, I will update Lt Cortright's bio on findagrave with the Elze information.
    Wieckenberg, Elze & Brunswick.jpg

    Op overview map 8 April 1944
    Overview map; Lt Cortright 8 April 1944.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  2. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  3. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    I did a little research on where and when Cortright, O-812758 could possibly have been commissioned.

    Based on his serial number, my best guess would be Advanced Class 43-I from Marianna Army Air Field in FL.

    There happens to be a link here from a website which tracks men who did Primary training at Douglas, GA.
    The page linked is for men from Douglas who were in Advanced class 43-I. Advanced Classes 43-I graduated in Sept 30 - Oct 1, 1943 time frame. The page is not just for Marianna graduates, however.......

    If you search on that page for "8127" you get 8 hits. They show numbers on either side of O-812758 and all 8 were in class 43-I at Marianna. . All men were fighter pilots and those with the number sequence "8127" but below 812758 precede "Cortright" in the alphabet and the higher numbers follow him. This is typical when sequential numbers are assigned alphabetically in a class. I have found this type of assignment was common in advanced classes.

    While Cortright is not specifically listed, I think it is a strong case that he was in that class.

    It appears the advanced class book for Marianna 43-I is not on the aafcollection website, unfortunately.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
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  4. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you Rolland.
    Yes, from your analysis Advanced Class 43-I from Marianna Army Air Field, FL perhaps not well known but is well described here http://www.kilroywashere.org/004-Pages/Marianna/04-Marianna.html is likely better than a best guess. Most interesting website you have shared. This Marianna AAFld graduation Class 43-I Sept 30 - Oct 1, 1943 fits nicely with Cortright’s known deployment to England. I suspect a naval ship was involved, upon arrival in the UK he was assigned to the 496FTG, 555FTS (all eating up time), graduating from this training in March 1944, then assigned to 354FG, then KIA about 30 days later.

    The Douglas noted here by Rolland is not the Douglas AAFld, Arizona known for twin engine training but rather the Raymond-Richardson Aviation School, Douglas, Georgia which would rapidly be renamed the 63rd Flight Training Detachment. Not exactly an elegant name but likely where Lt Cortright started his aviation training. Somewhat covered here http://wwiiflighttraining.org/Newsletters/Spring_2008.pdf and this video.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  5. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    The attached PDF was found in a different family tree on ancestry.com. This family has much more accurate information about Lt Cortright than previously found on that site. Although not cited the last page of the PDF is the page from "The Pioneer Mustang Group", by Steve Blake, Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 2008. ISBN: 978-0-7643-2925-8; referenced and shared by Peter earlier.

    I will attempt contact to see if they know more about Lt Cortright's training period, and inform them of the new investigation by Dirk in Elze.

    Attached Files:

  6. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Attached Files:

  7. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  8. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I got lost in your post #26. Where is the citing for this claim/statement? See post #9, Lt. Brueland had no idea what happened to Lt. Cortright. How then is there a claim he shot down the Bf-109 that shot down Cortright. Just not adding up right now, you are sure to make this more clear.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  9. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Scott I saw this in the 8th & 9th AAF Losses by Jan Hey / Stan Bishop.
  10. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    You could scan an add the page. Seem to be conflicting accounts here where Lt. Brueland had lost sight of Lt. Cortright never to be seen again, according to "The Pioneer Mustang Group" by Steve Blake, Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 2008. ISBN: 978-0-7643-2925-8.

    Now this Jan Hey / Stan Bishop account. Seems rather unlikely, wonder which one is correct as both certainly cannot be true.

    Edit: This then brings back the question of who shot down Cortright? Dirk suggested Obl. Hermann Graf, JG1/11 but this seems unlikely as Obl. Hermann Graf should have been in hospital recovering from wounds sustained in areal combat on 29 March 1944.

    Still many unanswered questions of this day 8 April 1944 over Elze, Wieckenberg and Hannover, Germany.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
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  11. Peter Randall

    Peter Randall New Member

    Just checked Blake's book again and the claims for 8th April '44. Lowell Brueland is credited with just the one Me109 on that day, so I find it quite remarkable that he is credited with the 109 that downed his wingman without even a passing mention of it in his encounter report.
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  12. Hartmann Dirk

    Hartmann Dirk New Member

    Hi Scott, Peter and Jaap,

    Thanks again for all the Infos regarding 2nd. Lt. John M. Cortright. Scott, you`re right,... Otl Hermann Graf was woundet after 29. March 44 and during the Combat on 8th April at the Hospiltal. I`ve make the mistake that I check the Claim List of JG1/11 for 8th of March i. s. o. 8th April 44. Herman Graf shoot down a Mustang in the same Area exactly four weeks earlier..... Sorry !!! ....to many Losses in that Area for Spring 44....

    Thanks again for all...

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  13. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Dirk Iam curious about the crashlocation off Cortright. I hope you will find this.

  14. Hartmann Dirk

    Hartmann Dirk New Member

    Good Morning Jaap,
    Now....next Tuesday the Second Meeting in Elze with Local Historian and Timewitness...Mrs. Heidkte... hoping thereafter we knew more Details....

    Greetings Dirk
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  15. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    This morning I also submitted an FOIA request for this IDPF, 293 file thru standard email channels to AHRC- Ft Knox - PDC.
    2nd. Lt. John M. Cortright
    Army Serial Number: O-812758
    Date Killed In Action: 08 April 1944
    Assignment when killed: Pilot, 355th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, Ninth Air Force.
    Missing Air Crew Report: 3571
    Location where KIA: Area near Hannover, Germany.
    Current interment location: Ardennes American Cemetery, Liège, Belgium, Plot B, Row 34, Grave 6.

    For me, although I want this IDPF, this is also a system test, as it has been quite some time since my last IDPF request to judge if response times have shortened. Many may not realize that although these IDPF requests are channeled thru AHRC- Ft Knox - PDC (and still are to the best of my understanding) the actual records "were" held/archived at the Washington National Records Center (WNRC), Suitland, MD a different facility than the NARA, Collage Park repository for many other military records.

    Last year in email conversation 11 October 2016 with Ivan Johnson, Chief, Reference Service Branch, at WNRC, Suitland, MD. I inquired about in-person IDPF review at WNRC. He kindly supplied me with contact and permission request information for John Hall, Dept. of Army Records Officer to gain that permission. In this exchange with Ivan it was learned that WNRC has already transferred IDPF records last name A-L to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), St. Louis, with the balance of M-Z IDPF's to be relocated to NPRC within the next 8 to 9 months in unknown increments.

    The IDPF request process was slowed in the past because of IDPF record transfer from WNRC to AHRC- Ft Knox - PDC where document pages would be digitized then sent on to the requesting party. So, by now I am expecting that all IDPFs have been transferred from the archive at WNRC to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), St. Louis. One of the intentions of all this was to shorten the turnaround time of an IDPF / FOIA request. Sadly my confidence in my government to not trip over their own shoe laces is not very high. Add to that my hope that NPRC, St. Louis now has a better and well maintained fire suppression system; i.e. 1973.

    I am curious to see how my current Lt Cortright request is handled by all US government parties.
    Scott M
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  16. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  17. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

  18. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  19. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Rolland sort of but Scott makes us happy. On my post 36 you see Forst Rundshorn. Google Earth dont give that.
    No further information in Kriegstagebuchs,Heimat verreins or other sources.
    We have to wait on Dirk his investigations with the local historian.
  20. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Update: I was able to make contact with Lt Cortright's niece Carol via ancestry.com. She is the daughter of Dean Cortright, John's younger brother also an AAF veteran, Signal Corps, still alive and doing well at 91 years young. one new tidbit of information is John attended classes for two year at Grinnell College in Iowa and also already had pilot training before enlisting.

    The other revelation was the family was initially told only that John was missing in action, later receiving an account stating that he had gone down with his plane, but that the impact of the crash was such that the aircraft was driven well into the ground, making immediate recovery of his remains impossible.

    As such, this news that John Cortright bailed out and initially survived the crash and was cared for by civilians at a farm house outside Elze is completely new to them. I have sent a PM and email to Dirk with a little more information and hope to put Dirk in direct communication with the Cortright family.

    I have also directed Carol to this forum thread for review and hopefully direct participation.

    Regarding my Lt Cortright IDPF request, as yet I have not even received a request acknowledgement response. So it appears little has changed with these requests either at AHRC- Ft Knox - PDC or NPRC, St. Louis; situation normal moving at a snail's pace.

    Scott M
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017 at 11:57 AM
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