Last Known Activity
Roy E. Whittaker was born on July 6, 1919, in Knoxville, TN. He attended the University of Tennessee as well as Columbia University. In 1940, he was accepted into the Aviation Cadet program of the US Army Air Corps.
He trained in PT-17/18 aircraft at Cuero Field, TX; the BT-9/14 at Randolph, TX; and the AT-6 at Kelley Field, TX. He graduated with Class 41-I on December 12, 1941, just 5 days after Pearl Harbor.
He was a flight instructor at Kelley Field for a length of time, then was assigned to the 65th Fighter Squadron of the 57th Fighter Group. Here, he trained in the P-40 Warhawk fighter. In 1942, all aircraft were flown to and landed on the USS Ranger for overseas deployment.
When the USS Ranger arrived at North Africa on July 1, 1942, the P-40 aircraft were flown off to Khartoum, Sudan for combat training. Whittaker trained at Wadi Halfa Air Field in Cairo, Egypt, and was selected to train with RAF 112 Squadron, reporting back with information gathered there.
Whittaker's first aerial victory came on October 26,1942, following his promotion to Captain. He shot down an Italian MC.202 fighter. Perhaps his finest hour was on the so-called "Palm Sunday Massacre" on April 18, 1943. The P-40s of the 57th fighter Group jumped a gaggle of German Ju-52 transports and BF-109 escorts. In the dogfight that followed, Whittaker shot down 3 JU-52s, a BF-109, and emerged from the fight with a confirmed tally of 3 kills, 2 probables, and 2 damaged. More than 70 German aircraft were destroyed that day. Whittaker ended his tour with a final score of 87 combat missions with 7 aerial kills, 2 probables, and 4 damaged
In June 1943, Whittaker returned to the U.S., assigned to Randolph Field, TX. Here, he took up his old duties as a flight instructor and also attended Aerial Gunnery School. Then he became a flight instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY.
In the summer of 1945, he attended the Army Command and Staff School, and was assigned as the Commanding Officer of the 449th Fighter Squadron. His records indicate he served in Korea during the 1950-51 time period, but no specifics are available. In June of 1951, he attended the Air Command and Staff School and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He held various assignments and positions until his retirement in 1973 at the rank of Colonel.
Roy E. Whittaker passed away on June 24, 1989 in a Bradenton, FL hospital. He is buried in Mnsion Memorial Park Cemetery in Ellenton, Florida.
65th Fighter Group records
USAAC aircraft inventory
There is confusion as well as discrepancy in the USAAF and 57th Fighter Group aircraft inventories, concerning the fate of the P-40F Warhawk fighter flown by Roy Whittaker.
It is documented that he was assigned to P-40 #41-14081 which he named "Miss Fury." After he left the unit in 1943, other pilots were assigned the aircraft.
There are two MACRs concerning this aircraft. The first (#1302) states that on October 15, 1943, this aircraft was piloted by Herman Goodman and was shot down and the pilot killed over Italy.
The second MACR (#1299) states this aircraft was flown by Charles R. McMahan on November 29, 1943 when it was hit by flak and lost over Popoli, Italy. It further states "The pilot returned."
The aircraft inventory and pilot assignment records have been reconstructed to a great deal from memory or transcribed from older records, resulting in some conflicting information. This is just one example of the difficulties of research.