Lanphier, Thomas George, Jr., Col

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 1056-Pilot, Two-Engine Fighter
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1943-1943, M 1055, 18th Fighter Group
Service Years
1941 - 1945

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home Country
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Lanphier, Thomas George, Jr., Col.

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Contact Info
Home Town
McCall, Idaho
Last Address
La Jolla, California

Date of Passing
Nov 26, 1987
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 11, Grave 789-2, Map Grid P-14.5

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Gold Star Air Ace American Fighter Aces Congressional Gold Medal

 Military Association Memberships
American Fighter Aces Association
  2015, American Fighter Aces Association

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Even though some sources say he had either 9 or 17 aerial victories in WWII, official sources only credit him with 5.5. He also damaged 8 enemy aircraft on the ground.  He was on the Apr 18, 1943 mission that shot down Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack.  He was at first given sole credit for shotting down the "Betty" bomber that Yamamoto was in; later it was reduced to half credit, and finally to no credit after it was determined another pilot had shot it down.  However, he was given credit for downing 1.5 enemy aircraft in the same engagement.
After the war he was the main founder of the Idaho Air National Guard, as well as a newspaper editor, special assistant to both the Secretary of the Air Force and the chairman of the National Security Resources Board, and vice president of the Convair division of General Dynamics.
His brother, 1st Lt. Charles Cobb Lanphier, USMC, died from disease and neglect while a prisoner of the Japanese on May 15, 1944.

His Navy Cross citation:

Awarded for actions during World War II
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain (Air Corps) Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr., United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Pilot of a P-38 fighter airplane in the 339th Fighter Squadron, 37th Fighter Group, THIRTEENTH Air Force, U.S. Army Air Forces, attached to a Marine Fighter Command in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on 18 April 1943. Leading a division of fighter planes at dangerously low altitude in the longest planned interception mission ever attempted, Captain Lanphier contacted the assigned objective, consisting of two enemy bombers and six escort fighters, with complete tactical surprise and launched a fierce, determined attack. In the ensuing engagement he operated with such daring courage and excellent marksmanship that he sent the leading bomber crashing in flames, and subsequently shot down one of the hostile fighters when it furiously attacked his plane. The outstanding professional skill and inspiring leadership displayed by Captain Lanphier under extremely adverse conditions contributed greatly to the remarkable success of this vital mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Armed Services.

Action Date: April 18, 1943

Service: Army Air Forces

Rank: Captain

Company: 339th Fighter Squadron

Regiment: 37th Fighter Group

Division: 13th Air Force (Detached)

Other Comments:
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 Ribbon Bar

Pilot Badge

 Unit Assignments
35th Fighter Group70th Fighter Squadron  - White Knights18th Fighter Group
  1941-1942, M 1055, 35th Fighter Group
  1941-1943, M 1056, 70th Fighter Squadron - White Knights
  1943-1943, M 1055, 18th Fighter Group
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1942-1942 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater
  1943-1943 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)
 Colleges Attended 
Stanford University
  1935-1941, Stanford University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
P-36 Hawk  P-39 Airacobra  P-40 Warhawk/Kittyhawk  P-38 Lightning (Forked Tail Devil)  
  1941-1941, P-36 Hawk
  1941-1942, P-39 Airacobra
  1941-1942, P-40 Warhawk/Kittyhawk
  1942-1945, P-38 Lightning (Forked Tail Devil)
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