1. The AAF forum will close permanently on December 1, 2017. I no longer have the time to manage a project like this, obviously, or give it the attention that it deserves. I still think fondly of the early days in 1998 when this all got started. A small, but eager group of tech savvy 1st and 2nd generation descendants made great friends with the last of the WWII veterans thru the newfangled internet. They're all gone now. It's time for me to turn the page. Thanks for being along for part of the ride. I'm sorry it got so bumpy in the end.
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2nd. Lt. John M. Cortright 355 FS

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

  1. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    I finally just yesterday afternoon received an email letter acknowledgment from the Ft. Knox Freedom of Information Office (FOIO) assigning an FOIA number to my request, nearly a month after I submitted the request; letter provided below.

    Incredibly it appears NOTHING has changed at Ft Knox and likely overall at the Army Human Resources Command related to IDPF requests / responses. Unbelievably they are still using the same old "canned" form letter stating the records are located at the Washington National Records Center (WNRC) located in Suitland, Maryland.

    Very disappointed, I shot back a reply to Mr. Hoggard asking why this same old story was being sent to those requesting IDPFs under FOIA authority where truthfulness is expected. I further explained that these IDPF records are no longer held at WNRC and in fact are now located at the NPRC, St. Louis, and copied Ivan Johnson, Chief, Reference Service Branch, at WNRC, Suitland, MD on my reply email.

    It is a little difficult to believe that I would need to update the Ft. Knox Freedom of Information Office about this change in records location. I further suggested that the reason for this records location change from WNRC to NPRC was to facilitate a quicker response to IDPF requests as the records supposedly were being digitized upon arrival at NPRC, further asking when this "new" efficiency would begin at AHRC- Ft Knox - PDC.

    Unclear what reaction there might be from Mr. Hoggard and the FOIO related to my sharp reply. I may never receive Lt Cortright's IDPF. Or maybe some positive changes will be the result, for now still waiting in queue with everybody else.

    Email Acknowledgement Letter for WWII IDPF (C) - name.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  2. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Here is the response to my query email to Mr Hoggard (a much more rapid reply than expected).

    "Good morning Mr. M,

    Thank you for the email that you sent Mr. Hoggard regarding our acknowledgment of your request for a copy of the Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) pertaining to 2nd LT John M. Cortright. Our acknowledgement letter stating that the requested IDPF is physically not located here at the Army Human Resources Command is absolutely correct. Currently, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is in the middle of a huge scanning/digitizing project. Our office was advised that DPAA had scanned the majority of WWII IDPF's (A-M). Our office was also advised that once DPAA finished scanning those IDPF's the hard copy records are placed in boxes and put into a "holding area" in a storage facility. Once the scanning of all those IDPF's is completed (N-Z), and agreements put into place between the Army, Records Management and Declassification Agency, those stored records will then start moving to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) for final disposition.

    Once our office receives a request for an IDPF, we check DPAA's database to see if the record is available, if not, we will put in a request to the Washington National Records Center. Please be advised, our acknowledgement letter to you is our standard acknowledgement letter when it comes to WWII IDPF's. If an action officer is able to find the requested record in a digital format, that record will be immediately processed and sent to the requester. Your request was assigned case number 17-3094 and has been assigned an action officer to be processed in the most expeditious manner as possible.

    I hope this email satisfies your below concerns and questions. Please contact me directly should you have additional questions or concerns. Thank you for your interest in the Freedom of Information Act.


    Niki Wey Gilbert

    Chief, AHRC-FOIA/PA Office"

    So it appears there are more steps involved in this record transfer from WNRC to NPRC and including digitization by DPAA. In my initial communication with Ivan Johnson, Chief, Reference Service Branch, at WNRC, Suitland, MD there was no mention of DPAA involvement in this process. Hopefully increased efficiency in IDPF request responses will be a reality sooner rather than later.


    "Thu 10/5/2017 12:08 PM (Mountain Time)
    Mr. M,

    Thank you for the email. The action officer working on your request has located the IDPF pertaining to LT Cortright and is currently processing it. You should have the record by the end of today or tomorrow.


    Niki Wey Gilbert

    Chief, AHRC-FOIA/PA Office"

    I will attempt to share Lt Cortright's full IDPF once recieved, depending on the size of content received, it might be shared via a Dropbox file link.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  3. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    It appears our time here on this forum has a known shelf life about to expire. Please retrieve documents from this thread as soon as possible.

    This morning AHRC- Ft Knox shared with me the IDPF for Lt Cortright. One cannot say they did not offer a complete scan of this record even offering copies of the back of documents "blank" without content.

    This document is 53 MB in size and 164 pages in length. Obviously from the description above there are many pages with little value other than to confirm there is no content on the backs of these pages.

    Here is my Dropbox link to this document:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/c7rxvct7xke5bx0/CORTRIGHT_JOHN_O 812758_IDPF_Complete_277611 - (DB).pdf?dl=0

    These first two pages extracted from the IDPF and added below explain the Cortright families understanding that Lt Cortright crashed in/with his Mustang and was recovered from his plane. Unclear how this will be reconciled with your new "eye witness" statements that Lt Cortright bailed out and initially survived the crash of his plane. I leave this for you to sort out, I have had no further contact from the Cortright family beyond that already reported.

    I must state that if I had read this IDPF record first, I would not have attempted, nor made contact with the Cortright family. With this new IDPF evidence do you still believe these "new" accounts of a wounded AAF pilot brought to a farm outside Elze, Germany are related to Lt Cortright?

    If NOT, I would like to excuse myself from this contact with the Cortright family offering the family my apology and regret having bothered them with this "new" (incorrect?) account of Lt Cortright's death. I would also like to update/correct the Lt Cortright findagrave bio, as it currently contains the Elze, Germany content.

    Be well, my friend our time here is short.

    Scott M

    2nd Lt John M Cortright, IDPF remains recovery (1).jpg
    2nd Lt John M Cortright, IDPF remains recovery (2).jpg

    Last sighting report from Lt Cortright's wingman leader 1st Lt Lowell K Brueland
    MACR 3571, 1st Lt Lowell K Brueland; statement about Lt Cortrig.jpg
    1st Lt Lowell K Brueland was the last man to see 2nd Lt John M. Cortright, Jr. (his wingman) alive. Worth a look to see who John was flying with that last day of his life.

    1st Lt Lowell K Brueland original enlistment 24 Jan 1942, ASN: 17042866 NARA record https://aad.archives.gov/aad/record...well+K+Brueland&bc=sl&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=1387501

    Conflicted Officer ASN: O-730366 in MACR 6653 https://www.fold3.com/image/29099162

    O-730266 in MACR 7614 https://www.fold3.com/image/28720682

    1st Lt Lowell K Brueland would become an Ace with 12.5 enemy victories and advancing in rank to Major. After Nazi surrender In May 1945 Maj. Brueland was placed in command of the 355th Squadron, 354th Fighter Group then operating from Herzogenaurach Air Field (Advanced Landing Ground R-29) in Bavaria; about 230 miles (370 km) southwest of Berlin, as an occupation force.

    Postwar Lowell K Brueland continued a career with the USAAF and USAF with his service through the Korean and Vietnam wars until his retirement from the United States Air Force on December 31, 1968. Well documented here:


    Lowell K Brueland findagrave https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=99707954

    Lt Cortright's plane (and remains?) were identified in part by recovery of a Browning MG, s/n 983752 which according to MACR 3571 (of which we sadly do not have a copy, at least on fold3) was mounted in Lt Cortright's P-51, 43-7136 and this crash site contained human remains, rightfully assumed to be Lt Cortright.

    2nd Lt John M Cortright, IDPF remains recovery (3).jpg

    2nd Lt John M Cortright, IDPF remains recovery, crash site map, sadly without coordinates. Dirk, maybe this map is more relevant to you being local to this area.
    2nd Lt John M Cortright, IDPF remains recovery, crash site map.jpg

    Here is a current GEarth image which appears to be rather close to the IDPF map. The small bridge over a stream south of Wieckenberg is located at 52°37'53.57"N, 9°50'15.56"E the road distances in 1 km lengths and the "Y" in the road seem to line up with existing roads. If this is correct and accurate the actual crash site of Lt Cortright and P-51B 43-7136 would be closer to 52°36'55.26"N, 9°49'8.96"E about 2 km southwest of Wieckenberg.
    Lt Cortright, P-51B 43-7136 crash site (from IDPF map).jpg

    Previously buried in isolated grave [crash site] Wickenberg, Germany L 53 X 45
    2nd Lt John M Cortright, IDPF remains recovery (4).jpg
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017 at 4:36 PM
    Peter Randall likes this.
  4. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    In email conversation from Dirk this morning he agrees, and states:
    "Scott, I absolute agree with you after reading the IDPF of Cortright. Also, I was thinking about the “Story” from Mrs. Heidtke, that the American Airman could not be a Pilot from a Fighter, due to the fact, I`ve seen the Parachute in Elze… and that Chute was Chest Chute from a Bomber Crew member….

    I think that the wounded Person in her House was a Member from the three B-17`s which went down on 08. March 1944 near Elze"

    As such, I have contacted the Cortright family via ancestry.com offering my apologies for troubling them with this possible alternate fate of Lt Cortright.

    Additionally I have edited and updated Lt Cortright findagrave memorial page bio and image content to more correctly depict his loss and recovery:


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