1st Lt Walter Drake Westmoreland
June 15, 1920 – October 12, 1944
Class: 43-G-SE
Graduation Date: July 28, 1943
Unit: 332nd Fighter Group, 302nd Fighter Control Squadron
Service # O-809257

Walter Drake Westmoreland was born on June 15, 1920 in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a nephew of Secretary of the NAACP Walter White.

Westmoreland enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. Entered the service via Regular Military. Served during World War II. Westmoreland had the rank of First Lieutenant. His military occupation or specialty was Pilot.

He was a graduate of class 43-G, earning his pilot wings at Tuskegee in 1943, service number assignment was O-809257. He was attached to 332nd Fighter Group, 302nd Fighter Control Squadron and flew a P-51C fighter, nicknamed “Dopey”.

On Oct. 13, 1944, Westmoreland’s plane was shot down by enemy ground fire near Lake Balaton, Hungary, while returning from an escort mission to Blechhammer, Germany. First designated as MIA, Westmoreland’s remains were not returned from Europe until December of 1948.

First Lt. Walter Drake Westmoreland (right) stands with his P-51C, nicknamed “Dopey”. Photo source: U.S. Air Force

Class 43-G graduated from flight training on July 28, 1943, at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. Lt. Westmoreland is on the front row, third from the end of the left side. Photo source: U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency

Lt. Walter Drake Westmoreland is buried beside his older brother, William George Westmoreland, Jr.

Master Sgt. Michael Varnado, 94th Operations Support Squadron, dressed in a Tuskegee Airman pilot uniform, Ms. Zellie Orr, Tuskegee Airman historian, Capt. Darrell Bogan, 94th Equal Opportunity officer, and Master Sgt. Tracy Bridges, 94th OSS intelligence applications NCO, present ceremonial wreaths at the gravesite of 1st Lt. Walter D. Westmoreland—a Tuskegee Airman pilot who was killed in combat during World War II. All are members of the Atlanta Chapter Tuskegee Airman, Inc. The photo of Lieutenant Westmoreland and Tuskegee Airman historical information was provided by Ms. Orr.

Photo source: Wikipedia

Visit the Red Tail Virtual Museum to see photo of his plane.

Adventures in Cemetery Hopping ~ A blog by Traci Rylands


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