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Captain Daniel "Danny" T. Roberts
80th Fighter Squadron and 433rd Fighter Squadron (433rd FS)
P-38 Lightning Pilot and Ace Killed In Action November 9, 1943

Background
Daniel Tipton Roberts Jr. was born on September 20, 1918 to parents Daniel Tipton "Tip" Roberts and Stella Mabel Hauser Roberts in Tucumcari, Quay County, New Mexico. He graduated from New Mexico Highlands University with a degree in music and afterwards was a music teacher. On February 10, 1941 he enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) as an aviation cadet with serial number 18016861. On September 26, 1941 he earned his wings and was commissioned at Brooks Field as a 2nd Lieutenant with serial number O-426977.

Wartime History
During January 1942 sent overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA). Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 8th Fighter Group (8th FG), 80th Fighter Squadron (80th FS) "Headhunters" flying the P-400 Airacobra and P-38 Lightning. Next, assigned to the 475th Fighter Group (475th FG) "Satan's Angels", 433rd Fighter Squadron (433rd FS) "Possum" when formed and continued flying the P-38 Lightning. He was nicknamed "The Quite Ace" because he did not swear or drink. On October 3, 1943 he became the Commanding Officer (C. O.) of the 433rd FS for 37 days until he died on November 9, 1943.

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Mission History
On November 9, 1943 took off piloting P-38H Lightning 42-66834 on a mission to escort bombers over Alexishafen Airfield. At 10:20am over the target area, escorting P-38 Lightnings engaged 25 enemy fighters over Sek Harbor near Alexishafen. During the dog fight, Roberts and Meyers were flying at roughly 200' in pursuit of a Ki-43 Oscar that turned suddenly. When Roberts turned to follow, Meyers failed to turn fast enough and collied with him. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

This aircraft caught fire, exploded and crash into the ground near Alexishafen Airfield. Also fatally damaged, P-38H 42-66546 pilot 2nd Lt. Dale O. Meyer crashed about 600 yards to the left of Roberts to the east of Alexishafen Airfield. Also lost on the same mission was P-38H 42-66596 pilot 2nd Lt. John Clay Smith (MIA).

Aerial Victory Claims
Roberts was officially credited with fourteen aerial victories. His first was claimed on August 26, 1942 and his last claim was on November 9, 1943 when he was killed. He also claimed one damaged and one probable.

Victory Date Location Aircraft Notes on claim
1 08/26/42 Buna Airfield Zero First aerial victory claim.
2 08/26/42 Buna Airfield Zero Second aerial victory claim.
  08/26/42 Buna Airfield Zero Claim for Zero damaged.
3 04/11/43 Oro Bay Val Third aerial victory claim.
4 04/11/43 Oro Bay Val Fourth aerial victory claim
5 08/21/43 Dagua Airfield "Hamp" Fifth aerial victory claim, became an "ace".
6 08/21/43 But Airfield "Hamp" Sixth aerial victory claim.
7 9/07/43 Arawe Oscar Seventh aerial victory claim.
8 10/17/43 Cape Ward Hunt Zero Eighth aerial victory claim.
9 10/17/43 Cape Ward Hunt Zero Ninth aerial victory claim.
10 10/23/43 Rabaul Zero Tenth aerial victory claim, became a double "ace".
11 10/23/43 Rabaul Zero Eleventh aerial victory claim.
12 10/24/43 Rabaul Zero Twelfth aerial victory claim.
13 10/29/43 Rabaul Zero Thirteenth aerial victory claim.
  11/02/43 Rabaul Zero Claim for Zero probable between Lakunai and Matupi
14 11/09/43 Alexishafen "Hamp" Fourteenth aerial victory claim for a "Zeke" [sic, Ki-43 Oscar]
Awards
Roberts earned Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Memorials

Roberts was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is buried at Manila American Cemetery plot J row 2, grave 23.

References

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Daniel T. Roberts
Missing Air Crew Report 1261 (MACR 1261) created November 10, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Daniel T. Roberts Jr.
FindAGrave - Capt Daniel Tipton Roberts, Jr (photo, grave photo)
Stars & Bars (1995) page 65 (475th FG, Roberts) 526 (Roberts, Jr Daniel Tipton)
Possum, Clover & Hades 475th Fighter Group in World War II (2004) pages 96 (photo), 289 (losses), 295 (475th FG aircraft), 309 (Aerial victory claims 11/09/43 432nd FS / 433rd FS), 333 (index Roberts)

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