42-66710

 

On 25 May 1944, P-38s assigned to 10th Air Force, 80th Fighter Group, 459th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Chittagong, Burma on a fighter sweep mission over Kangaung, Burma. One of the fighters was P-38H-1-10, # 42-66710, flown by 2ndLt William R. Lyon, 0-750638. The P-38 was last sighted at about 1145 hours by his wingman in a near vertical dive over Kangaung. Other pilots observed black smoke billowing southwest of Kanguang. Witnesses were: Capt. Wlter F. Duke, 0-790505 and 2ndLt John D. Burger, 0-750528.

 

Capt. Duke reported: Lt. Lyon was element leader in his flight. They dove through a 70% overcast over the target and seeing no aircraft on the airfield, pulled out at 4,000 feet. He looked back to see if his flight was together and saw a large column of black smoke on the south end of the target. Lt. Lyon was missing.

 

2ndLt Burger reported: They dove from about 10,000 feet through clouds over the target. He saw Capt. Duke pull out. Lt. Lyon steepened his dive and Burger thought he had a target. Burger tried to stay with him but he got steeper, near vertical at 5,000 feet with air speed of 500MPH, Burger started to pull out. Burger lost sight of Lyon under his right wing. Upon pulling out at about 2,000 feet, he saw a large column of black smoke on the south end of the target. Burger had not seen any damage or equipment failure to Lyon’s aircraft. No anti-aircraft fire was seen.

 

LYON, WILLIAM RICHARD “BILL”, Second Lieutenant, # 0-750638, USAAF

 

William R. Lyon was born 1 September 1919 in Ascotin, Clarkston, Washington, to Lloyd William Lyon (1886-1942) (Iowa) and Nora (Hollingsworth) Lyon (1894-1991) (Kansas). Siblings included Mary Alice Lyon (1909-1911), Nellie Evelyn Lyon (1913-1967), Nora Elizabeth “Dickie” Lyon (1915-2003), Dorothy June (Lyon) Vandermade (1917-2001), Jerry David Lyon (1922-1996), Edna Pauline Lyon (1929-2016). Only William was born in WA; the rest in Idaho.

 

He registered for the WW II draft 16 October 1940 and described himself as 5’7”, 135 lbs, with blond hair and blue eyes. He enlisted while living in Nez Perce County, Idaho, on 1 April 1941, in Spokane, Washington. He was trained extensively to pilot fighter aircraft. He earned his commission and wings. He was sent overseas to 10th Air Force in India. On 25 May 1944, P-38s assigned to 10th Air Force, 459th Fhter Squadron, departed the airfield at Chittagong, Burma on a fighter sweep mission over Kangaung, Burma. One of the fighters was P-38H-1-10, # 42-66710, flown by 2ndLt William R. Lyon, 0-750638. The P-38 was last sighted at about 1145 hours by his wingman in a near vertical dive over Kangaung. Other pilots observed black smoke billowing from SW of Kanguang. 2ndLt Burger and 2ndLt Lyon dove from about 10,000 feet through clouds over the target. Burger saw Capt. Duke pull out. Lt. Lyon steepened his dive and Burger thought he had a target. Burger tried to stay with him but he got steeper, near vertical at 5,000 feet with air speed of 500MPH, Burger started to pull out. Burger lost sight of Lyon under his right wing. He is remembered on the monument wall in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines.