On 5 March 1944, a P-38J-10-LO Lightning, # 42-67833, assigned to 10th Air Force, 459th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Chittagong, Burma, on a fighter sweep. It was last seen 10 miles NE of Kanguang, Burma, at about 1445 hours, being chased by five or six enemy fighters. The pilot was 1stLt Albert T. Curtis, 0-732176. The last sighting was by Capt. Hampton E. Boggs, 0-728557, and Capt. Walter F. Duke (not Davis), 0-790505.
Capt. Boggs reported: He was leading the second element (2 aircraft) in the lead flight (4 aircraft) with 1stLt Curtis as his winman. They climbed to 25,000 feet and began descending slowly on the east side of the Chin Hills. They dropped their tanks SW of Meitkila at 18,000 feet and made a pass at Thedaw. They saw nothing on the enemy field so continued north climbing to 10,000 feet and turned right for a pass on the enemy’s Kanguang air strip. They dove from 10,000 feet south to north and before they reached the Kanguang air strip, Zeros started diving on us. He continued across the air field, looked back and saw Lt. Curtis lagged about 600 yards with a Zero on his tail. He called Curtis and he did not respond. Boggs turned sharply to the left to either chase the Zero off himself or to get Curtis to maneuver immediately. Curtis turned slightly, saw the Zeros and dove for the ground. The last Boggs saw of Curtis, he was on the deck (tree-top level) and had five or six Zeros chasing him. Boggs was in the same predicament and could be of no further help.
Capt. Duke reported: 1stLt Curtis was # 4 in the first flight and Duke was # 3 in the second flight (a flight is 4 P-38 aircraft) on a fighter sweep over Kangaung at about 1445 hours. After making a pass on a fighter, Duke headed for Chittagong airfield and looked back for his wing man. He was to my right and I saw a P-38 straggling in a turn. There were two enemy fighters on his tail and one diving on him. It was Lt. Curtis’ P-38. He was told by radio to hit the deck by his leader and it appeared that he did not know that the enemy fighters were behind him. Duke started a climbing turn to go back and went to target at 9,000 feet but could not find Curtis. He saw fires on the ground but not in the vicinity he was last seen.
CURTIS, ALBERT T., First Lieutenant, # 0-732176, USAAF
Albert T. Curtis was born 26 December 1918 in Ohio to Leonard Curtis (1870-1925) (England) and Nellie Elizabeth (Lenhart) Curtis nee Meinzen (1884-1969). Siblings included Mary (Curtis) Castner (1912- ) and Valentine “Vallie” Curtis (1914- ).
He enlisted in the USAAF as an aviation cadet at Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio, on 28 January 1942. He was extensively trained in fighter aircraft and earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to 10th Air Force in India. On 5 March 1944, a P-38J-10-LO Lightning, # 42-67833, assigned to 10th Air Force, 459th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Chittagong, Burma, on a fighter sweep. It was last seen 10 miles NE of Kanguang, Burma, at about 1445 hours, being chased by five or six enemy fighters. He is remembered on the monument in the Manila American Memorial Cemetery & Mausoleum, Philippines. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.