SNYDER, HERMAN L., Staff Sergeant, # 39828641, USAAF

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WALTRIP, LELAND HERSHAL, Staff Sergeant, # 39251861, USAAF

 

Leland H. Waltrip was born on 17 November 1921 in Holtville, Imperial Co., California, to Frank Waltrip (1899-1935) and Kathryn M. (Cook) Lowery nee Waltrip (1901-1982) (AR); (2nd marriage to Cecil Leroy Lowery (1902-1978) (WVA). Siblings included Francis Nadine (Waltrip) Gurrola (1919-1971) (KS), Florence Mae (Waltrip) Henry (1924-2017) (CA), Ira Leroy Lowery (1938-2006).

 

He registered for the WWII draft on 14 February 1942, employed by E&R Cook Cement, resided at 1129 Lambert, El Monte, Los Angeles Co., CA, and described himself as 5’7 ¼”, 157 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. He noted a scar from corner of left eye to bridge of nose. He served in the USAAF from 25 August 1942 to 14 November 1945 and a second term from 3 September 1946 to 18 October 1951. He was trained to maintain the weapons (except the bombs) on the B-25 Mitchell. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 20 May 1944 a B-25J, # 43-3896, assigned to 10th Air Force, 12th Bomb Group (Medium), 434th Bomb Squadron, Kurmitola, India, departed its airfield on a combat mission to Mawlu, Burma. It was shot down by enemy small caliber weapons. The last to see the B-25 aloft was 1stLt John B. Walker while making a bomb run on the target. 2ndLt Snee bailed out but his parachute did not open and he was killed. SSgt. Waltrip was captured by the Japanese and imprisoned in the Rangoon Cantonment (former British prison). He was liberated about 4 May 1945. He died on 12 March 1995 and is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Arizona.

 

His sister, Florence M. Waltrip, born 2 February 1924, was admitted to the U.S. Army Nurse Corps for training and was admitted to Los Angeles County Hospital nursing school 6 February 1944. She resigned on 25 February 1944. However, she served as a Yeoman 3rd Class in the U.S. Navy. She died 14 May 2017 and is buried in the Eagle Point National Cemetery, Roseville, Placer Co., California.