LUTZ, CHARLES JEAN, Lieutenant Colonel, # 0-594746, USAAF


Charles J. Lutz was born 11 August 1915 in Kellerton, Ringgold County, Iowa, to Charles B. Lutz (1876-1938) and Effie (Holmes) Lutz (1885-1975). He had two siblings: Alice Luella Lutz (1909-1968) and Earl Edwin Lutz (1914-2008). He married Louise Camille Vachon (1920-1990) on 12 July 1943 in Tampa, Florida. They had two children.


On 16 October 1943, at about 1645 hours, an A-36-A1, # 42-84154, (fighter-bomber version of the P-51 Mustang), assigned to the 511th Fighter-Bomber Group, 529th Fighter-Bomber Squadron departed Dinjan, India, to 16,000 feet altitude on a mission to Sumbrobaum, Burma. The pilot was Major Charles Jean Lutz, 0-594746. He was last seen by Brigadier General William D. Old, Colonel Harry R. Melton, Jr., (see his story in this site), 0-20285, and Captain George H. Van Deusen, 0-429194 (the latter two by radio). He was captured and spent eighteen months as a POW in Rangoon, Burma, before being liberated in May, 1945. He died while on active duty in the USAF at Biggs Air Force Base with the 2602 USAF Tow Target Squadron on 23 October 1949 in Midland County, Texas. He was buried on 28 October 1949 in the Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois. He was survived by his wife, Louise Camille (Vachon) Lutz (1920-1990), and son John Eric Lutz, and a daughter, Martha.

42-84024       A36




Melville B. Bowman, Jr., was born 8 April 1917 in San Francisco, California, to Melville B. Bowman (1880-1957) and Helen Russell (Hinckley) Bowman (1892-1987). When he registered for the WW II draft in 1942, he was employed by the Southern California Edison Co. He stated his next-of-kin was Helen H. Bowman. He described himself as 5’10”, 165 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. His siblings included Mary A. Bowman (1920-1985). His father worked as a stock broker in 1930. The 1940 census shows the family living on Cherry St., in Boulder, Nevada. He enlisted in the USAAF while living in Boulder City, Clark County, Nevada, on 18 March 1942 at Las Vegas Army Air Field. The Army chose Las Vegas as the site for a gunnery school. In 1941, the Army concluded a lease with the City of Las Vegas to use McCarran Field. The original facility, which opened in 1942, provided training to pilots and instruction on handling machine guns mounted on the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator and, later, the B-29 Super Fortress, as well as P-51 Mustangs. Twenty-five thousand students eventually trained at the base. It was closed in 1945 but later reopened as Nellis Air Force Base, “the home of the fighter pilot” and the USAF Thunderbird demonstration team.