2LT Thomas E. Cartmell USAAF – A Young Man Went Off to War

Related to my previous post, here is another one of those great connections that this website helps make possible.  In 2019, I was contacted by reader, with the following story:

My uncle, 2LT Thomas E. Cartmell, was a pilot with the 417th NFS in March and April of 1945. I have had the opportunity to read, photograph, transcribe and compile the 343 letters he wrote to his sister, his parents, and his girlfriend (later wife) during his wartime experience. The letters chronicle his training, from preflight through transitioning to the P-61 Black Widow.
He was assigned as a replacement pilot to the the 417th, joining them at LaVallon in March, 1945. He moved with them to St. Dizier, and then to Giebelstadt, Gerrmany.
On April 26th, 1945, Tom and his RO 2LT Hal Anderson were shot down and killed by friendly fire over the Dillingen Bridgehead. It was their first and only combat mission. ”

Dr. Hughey has compiled the collected letters and created a beautiful website  to honor the memories and tell the story of a young man who went off to war, but did not return.  I have placed a permanent link to “2LT Thomas E. Cartmell USAAF-A Young Man Off to War”  on the Letters, Diaries and Tributes page of the 417th-nightfighters website.

Alternative, you can click here, and go directly to Dr. Hughey’s website .

A Happy New Year with a happy ending story

Happy New Year everyone.

One of the things that I get the most satisfaction from when working on this website is connecting people with other people.  This can be a grandkid looking for their grandfather, a son or daughter looking for a photo or memory of a father who passed away too soon.  Sometimes, the web site allows me to connect two strangers.

My story starts in May of 2019.  A visitor  to this web site generated an inquiry on the Contact Us page.  “Buddy”  was looking for relatives of Clarence K. Fuller.  Clarence was one of the original members of the 417th who died in action in 1944.  He was a pilot.

In response to the inquiry,  I posted a plea for any relatives of Clarence to get in touch thru the site.  Nearly six months went by with no response.  Then, on December 20th, I receive an email from Tracey, who is Clarence’s grandchild.  I put her in touch with Buddy.

Buddy’s goal was to return Clarence’s burial flag to his family.   How fantastic is that!

A snippet from the email Buddy wrote regarding the “reunion” with Clarence’s family was:

“A book could be written about the journey this flag has made and the surprises discovered by both sides along the way.  Thank you for your help, it has meant so much to all of us.”

It meant a lot to me too.  It makes the work worthwhile.

Speaking of getting in touch, I’ve seen a few comments about people getting in touch thru the Contact Us page, but receiving no response.  There was an upgrade to this website as well as the Contact us page awhile ago and it’s possible that some inquiries may have been tossed during the transition.   I check the email and contacts page at least once per week unless I am away on vacation, so if you haven’t heard from me please try again  AND please check your SPAM/JUNK folder as the reply address that will be generated when I do write back is a little odd and some email filters might think it’s invalid.