GOODRICH, BURDETTE CLARK, First Lieutenant, Service # 0-750504, U.S. Army Air Force
Burdette C. Goodrich was born 8 November 1917 to Walter Roland Goodrich (1892-1977) and Dora Rosella Conover (1894-1973) in Whitman County, Washington. His siblings included Shirley Margaret Goodrich (1922-1998), Joseph Russell Goodrich (1924-2001) and James Clifford Goodrich (1935- ). He married Loretta Lee Dufresne (1917-2006) on 29 September 1940 in Missoula, Montana. He enlisted 8 April 1942, in Missoula, Montana. He was then about 5'7" and 139 lbs. He attended flight school and obtained his commission and wings then was assigned as a fighter plot to the 459th Fighter Squadron, 80th Fighter Group, 10th Air Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with two Oak Leafe Clusters and the Purple Heart. He flew the P-38H Lightning of the Twin Dragons (later called the Burma Banshees). He crash landed in the Yaw River dry river bed on 6 June 1944. Another pilot believed he saw Goodrich running from the crash site. He was captured by the Japanese and imprisoned in the Rangoon Cantonment, where he died on 24 February 1945, reportedly from beri-beri, dysentry and malnutrition. He was buried in the cantonment cemetery (death also reported as 27 February 1945). The Graves Registration team subsequently recovered his remains.
He departed Chittagong to Meiktila and return on a fighter sweep for enemy. He was last seen 6 June 1944 at 0757 hours 1 mile due west of Pyinchaung, Burma, at 94 degrees 35 minues East and 21 degrees 24 minutes North. He "... belly landed the aircraft right engine feathered and left engine failing. Cause for engine failure unknown." The aircraft was a P-38H5, Tail # 42-67001, armed with four .50 caliber Browning M-1 aircraft machine guns and one 20 mm cannon - Oldsmobile aircraft automatic M-1.. Witnesses included 2ndLt William C. Baumeister, 0-753595 and 1stLt Henry R. Mahler, 0-748711. 2ndLt Baumeister reported that he followed Goodrich down and spoke to him when he reported engine failure. Baumeister said the aircraft touched down with flaps down at about 85 MPH in a dry river bed and went into a row of trees on the west bank. The aircraft cockpit section appeared intact. He did not see movement and had to leave due to gas shortage. 2ndLt James L. King flew a search and locate mission the same day and found Goodrich's P-38H in a dry stream bed near Pauk. He made three passes then desroyed the aircraft with gunfire. He saw no body or parachute.