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1st Lt. Richard C. Suehr
39th Fighter Squadron, P-38 Lightning Ace

Background
Richard C. Suehr was born May 4, 1917 in Crafton, PA to parents Harry C. Suehr and Ethlenna Roehrig Suehr. Nicknamed "Dick". He enlisted in the U. S. Army on March 17, 1941 as an aviation cadet with serial number 13013972. After earning his wings, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant then promoted to a 1st Lieutenant. Sent overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Click For EnlargementWartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 35th Fighter Group (35th FG), 39th Fighter Squadron (39th FS) flying the P-38 Lightning. Nicknamed "Dick". Suehr flew his first tour of duty in New Guinea.

On June 9, 1942 claimed his first victory.

On June 16, 1942 piloting an Airacobra Suehr took off from 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) on a mission to intercept A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kokutai on a fighter sweep over Port Moresby.

Click For EnlargementOn January 6, 1943 claimed his second victory. Two days later claimed two more, his score included three Zeros and a bomber and earned the Silver Star, but was only officially credited to two aircraft.

On April 12, 1943 Suehr took off from 14 Mile Drome piloting P-38F "Regina I" 42-12654 over Port Moresby to intercept Japanese fighters and bombers. On that mission, he claimed a G4M1 Betty bomber crashing onto Mount Chamberlain.

Suehr flew a second tour of duty in the Philippines, but did not claim any additional victories.

For his World War II service, he was the recipient of numerous commendations and medals to include two Purple Hearts, the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

Aerial victory claims
Suehr was officially credited with five aerial victory claims and became an ace.

Victory Date Location Aircraft Notes on claim
1 06/09/42     First aerial victory claim.
2 01/06/43     Second aerial victory claim.
3 01/08/43     Third aerial victory claim.
4 01/08/43     Fourth aerial victory claim.
5 04/12/43 Mt. Chamberlain G4M1 Betty Fifth aerial victory claim, became an "ace".

Postwar
Suehr remained in the military and became part of the U. S. Air Force (USAF) and flew during Vietnam. Suehr passed away at age 91 on April 21, 2009 at the North Carolina State Veterans Nursing Home in Fayetteville. Laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery at 3 pm. on July 9, 2009, with full military honors.

Relatives
Wife, Ruth Suehr. Sons: Son, Ralph T. Suehr, Richard "Rick" C. Suehr II of Raleigh; a sister, Nell Bull of Nescopeck, Pa.; and a grandson, Richard Charles Suehr III of Long Beach, CA.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Richard C. Suehr
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Suehr Richard C
SUEHR RICHARD C 1st Lieutenant 39FTR 01-06-1943 Unknown Unknown WW2 Unknown 1
SUEHR RICHARD C 1st Lieutenant 39FTR 01-08-1943 Unknown Unknown WW2 Unknown 2
SUEHR RICHARD C 1st Lieutenant 39FTR 04-12-1943 Unknown Unknown WW2 Unknown 1
SUEHR RICHARD C 2nd Lieutenant 39FTR 06-09-1942 Unknown Unknown WW2 Unknown 1
Aviation History "World War II: Dick Suehr Flew to Defend Port Moresby" by Jon Guttman, September 2002)
Fay Observer Richard C. Suehr Obituary April 25, 2009



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