Last Known Activity
Francis Carlton Truesdale was born in Kershaw, South Carolina on November 3, 1913. After attending high school, he enrolled in Clemson University as part of the Class of 1934, majoring in Agricultural Chemistry. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant (Infantry-Reserve) in 1934, and assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The U.S. Army Register of 1940 reports him at that duty location.
The Register also lists that he was a 2nd Lieutenant on 3 July 1937; a 1st Lieutenant on 3 July, 1940;and was promoted to Captain on 9 September, 1940. He transferred to the Air Corps on May 28, 1942, and underwent pilot training. While in Texas, he married Miss Catherine Pool of San Antonio.
In the Clemson University alumni annals, there is a reference to an accident report (43-7-24-5) in which he ground-looped a P-40 fighter at Bolling Field, Washington D.C.
He was assigned to the newly-activated 96th Fighter Squadron, and sent overseas, deploying in October, 1942. The unit was stationed in Algeria, and later Tunisia, escorting bombers to and from targets. No military records have been located for Captain Truesdale; however, his assignment at death would indicate he flew a P-40/P-47 aircraft. No MACR nor Accident report has been located. A notation in one source states his death was a non-battle death involving the crash of an aircraft, but this has not been verified.
His parents received word he had been killed in an aircraft crash while assigned to the 82nd Fighter Group, 96th Fighter Squadron. His body was later returned to the U.S. for burial in Arlington National Cemetery, where he lies in Section 34, Site 4938.
U.S. Army Register, 1934
U.S. Army Register 1938
U.S. Army Register 1940
The 96th Fighter Squadron, in unit history records, indicate the unit was equipped with P-38-type aircraft in 1942, shortly before deploying overseas. None of the sources listed indicate Captain Truesdale flew a P-38; all reference aircraft of the P-40/P-47 types.
NOTE: Profile rewritten and updated on May 14, 2014 with new material found in additional sources.
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