RAFF, LYNDON ORVIS, First Lieutenant, # 0-729234, USAAF


Lyndon O. Raff was born on 30 January 1918 in Beltrami, Minnesota, to Frank Raff (1885-1973) and Olga Josephine “Josie” (Rude) Raff (1886-1978) (married 4 May 1916, Grand Forks, North Dakota). Siblings included Leroy Edgar Raff (1911-1981), Alton Ebert Raff (1912-1994), Evelyn Annabel Raff (1915-    ), Willis Harold Raff (1921-2002) and Arlene M. Raff (1920-    ). He graduated from Central High School. His father was a commercial publishing printer in 1940. He married Nina Blanche (Ostrom) Taylor nee Raff on 27 October 1942 in St. Paul, Minnesota.


He registered for the WWII draft on 16 October 1940, employed by Montgomery Ward Co., resided  at 1560 Englewood Ave., St. Paul, Ramsey Co., Minnesota, and described himself as 5’8”, 130 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. Residing in Ramsey Co., Minnesota, he enlisted in the USAAF at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, on 14 January 1942. He completed flight schools and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 29 October 1943 a C-47 Skytrain, # 41-38702, assigned to 10th Air Force, 1st Troop Transport Group, 2nd Troop Carrier Squadron, departed the airfield at Dinjan, India, on a food supply drop mission in Burma and crashed into a mountainside. All aboard were killed. The last to have radio contact was SSgt Ison (NMI) Olant, 32323214. USAAF Capt. Ferie A. Larson, Operations Officer, 2nd Troop Carrier Squadron, reported that he flew a search sortie and found “it crashed and burning about 200 yards below target # 3 at 95° 50’ East, 27° 05’ North. Observation revealed a mechanical failure caused a forced landing in the wash just under the target, which has vicious down-drafts. There were no survivors. An investigation by ground was requested. Fire consumed all but the wing tips and the tail. Adjutant Capt. Coy T. Sevier wrote that the transport approached due West following the valley into the field and began to climb but an engine failed. The pilot banked left sharply to his left. The left wing hit trees which caused the C-47 to swing and fall into the jungle. An observer noticed an engine burst on several seconds before the crash. A ground team reached the crash site but could do little because of intense heat from burning gas. No survivors were found. Eight bodies were found in the wreckage but were unidentifiable. The bodies were buried at the crash site and marked. After recovery from Burma, his remains were buried with those of Cpl. Max K. Hall in a group burial ceremony in the Fort McPherson National Cemetery on 18 January 1950 (Sec. R, Grave 32).


His brother, Leroy E. Raff, born 21 February 1911, enlisted in the U.S. Army on 10 July 1945, in Phoenix, Arizona, and was honorably discharged 19 December 1945. He died 15 June 1981 in Los Angeles, California.


His brother, Willis H. Raff, born 19 April 1921, served in the USAAF, a Staff Sergeant, from 27 August 1942 to 9 November 1945 and from 3 August 1947 to 13 September 1947. He died 12 November 2002 and is buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, South Dakota (Sec. J, Grave 902).