|Major Lloyd Whitley flew P-51s for the 531st Fighter Squadron.|
Lloyd E. Whitley never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on July 14, 1917 in North Carolina. His parents were also both born in North Carolina. His father worked as a self employed barber and later as a fingerprint detective. Lloyd had two older brothers and a younger sister. His oldest brother served in the army during the war and came home. He was married to the former Dorothy Main.
He enlisted in the army in February 1941. Early in the war, Lloyd flew missions over New Georgia, Guadalcanal, Bouganville, and Saipan. He rose to the rank of major in the 531st Fighter Squadron, 21st Fighter Group which flew P-51 Lightnings.
When Iwo Jima Field #2 was sufficiently cleared, it became the airbase for the 21st Fighter Group. On the morning of March 26, 1945 at least 250 Japanese soldiers attacked the airfield in a suicide banzai raid. 14 airmen were killed before Marines eliminated all of the enemy in tent-to-tent fighting. Major Whitley was one of those killed.
His record shows that during the war he earned the Silver Star and the Bronze Star.
His grave is at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. It appears that his widow remarried after the war and died in 2011.
West Side Story Tie In
Also born on July 14, 1917 was the writer Arthur Laurents, best known for writing the book for the hit Broadway musical West Side Story. He was in the army during World War 2, but never left the US. He died in 2010 at age 93.
Are there some Broadway calibre plays that were never written because some of Laurent's peers never came home?
To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY
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