World War II Chronicle: 20 December 1941

Dargue (left) was the first American pilot to make an operational flight across the border during the Punitive Expedition into Mexico

Regarding “Feared Lost” on page 6, Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, Chief of Staff of the Army Air Corps, selected First Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Herbert A. Dargue to investigate the perceived lack of preparedness of the U.S. Armed Forces at Pearl Harbor. While enroute to Hawaii from Long Island’s Mitchel Field, the B-18 bomber carrying Dargue and several other officers crashed in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Dargue, a U.S. Military Academy graduate (Class of ’11) and veteran of the Pancho Villa Expedition — as a member of the 1st Aero Squadron — became the first American general to die on duty during the second world war.

Dargue’s son Donald (USMA ’43) flew B-17s over Europe and was shot down, spending six months in German captivity. Grandson Herbert flew helicopters during Vietnam and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

Headlines from today’s edition:

  • Dutch Launch Surprise Attack
  • British Hold at Hongkong
  • Goebbels Warns of Long Struggle

Lt. Randall D. Keator (see page 1), credited with the first aerial victory over the Philippines, has a rather interesting story and was incredibly lucky to have survived the war — much less his first dogfight. After Keator shot down his first A6M2 Zero, another enemy fighter jumped on his tail. He put his P-40 Warhwak into a dive, but having forgotten to buckle his seatbelt, Keator slid forward in the cockpit and blacked out. Fortunately, the enemy didn’t take him out and Keator came to with his P-40 flying level at 19,000 feet. He tried multiple times to land, but Clark Field was badly shot up. He finally managed to put his fighter down on the edge of the runway, not knowing that American anti-aircraft gunners had mistaken him for a Japanese fighter and had been shooting at him the entire time.

Click on the images to zoom in

Instructions: To read the paper, click on the image to load the high-resolution version.

Author: Documents

Leave a Reply