Last Known Activity
Dayton S. Altman, Jr. was born in Mullins, South Carolina on June 21, 1919. He was the son of Dr. Dayton S. Altman, Sr and Rosa Witherspoon Altman. According to records at Clemson University, Altman graduated from North Carolina State University, then a dental college in Atlanta, Georgia, and then entered Clemson.
His NARA enlistment record states he was residing in Marion, South Carolina when he was inducted into the service on July 23, 1940, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The record also shows he enlisted for the Medical Service and requested assigned to the Puerto Rican Department. In addition, it shows he had completed 3 years of college.
It is not known exactly when or where he transferred to the Air Corps, but family records show him as flying both a B-17 and B-24. It is known he was assigned to the 320th Bomb Squadron of the 90th Bomb Group stationed at the time in Long Beach, California.
In October 1942, he was part of a flight of B-24s that flew to Hawaii and then moved to Iron Range, Australia where missions were flown against Japanese installations in the SouthWest Pacific.
On January 9, 1943, on such a mission, his aircraft was shot down by a Japanese fighter and crashed into the Southern Ocean. Reports state that although wounded, he attempted to save fellow crewmen. There was, however, only one survivor.
Lt Altman and his fellow crew members are each memorialized on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila. In addition, there is a memorial marker for Lt Altman in Cedardale Cemetery in Mullins, South Carolina.
Lt Altman was the pilot of B-24D # 41-23772, nicknamed "Little Eva," assigned to the 320th Bomb Squadron. In addition to the name, the aircraft also had the rudders emblazoned with the "Jolly Roger" skull and crossbones of the 90th Bomb Group as well as a shark's mouth on the nose.
Missing Air Crew Reports were not routinely issued in that day, but afterward, a temporary one, R-764, was issued. It, as well as 90th BG crew records, identifies the crew as:
2Lt Dayton S. Altman, Jr. p
2 Lt Norman D. Smith c-p
2 Lt Herbert H. Gardner nav
2 Lt William H. Hoyt bomb
TSgt Freddie K. Affell eng
TSgt Francis Bigham r/o
SSgt John F. Ratliff gunner
SSgt Vincent M. Calisle gunner
Sgt Francis E. Bogucki gunner
Lt Smith was the only survivor.
There was another B-24 (# 41-23762) who was named "Little Eva." When Altman's crew arrived, that pilot requested exclusive rights for the name, but before the request was granted, his aircraft was shot down and Lt Altman's crew carried the name.
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