|Lt. Claude Rahn flew P-47s similar to this one in the 66th Fighter Squadron.|
Claude Rahn never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on January 19, 1918 in Maryland. His parents Paul and Maggie were also both born in Maryland. His father worked as a jewelry manufacturer recorder and later as a wholesale jeweler silversmith. Still later he was a jeweler. Claude had one older brother. By 1940 Claude had completed four years of high school and was living at home while working as a clerk. At some point that year he married Vera Dales.
I don't know when Claude enlisted but he became a second lieutenant and pilot in the 66th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, 12th Air Force. The 57th FG first flew P-40 Warhawks in Egypt in 1942. By 1944 it had switched to P-47 Thunderbolts operating in Italy. The William Wyler documentary Thunderbolt (watch it here) was about the 57th FG. Lt. Rahn was credited with one victory, shooting down a FW-190 on July 1, 1944. He died on July 11, 1944. One source says it was from a noncombat incident, but another source says it was from being hit by flak.
His grave is at Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. His widow never remarried and died in 2003 at age 85. On her gravestone is "A Faithful Wife."
Last year on this date I profiled B-17 pilot Harold Barnett. His widow also never remarried and lived to age 91. You can read his story here.
On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!
I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100