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Captain Danny T. Roberts

Captain Danny T. Roberts

robertsDaniel Tipton "Danny" Roberts was born 20 September 1918 in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Completing Army Air Forces flight training on 26 September 1941, he was initially assigned to Mitchell Field New York. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was transferred to California where he departed the U.S. for the Pacific in January 1942

Arriving in New Guinea, Lieutenant Roberts was assigned to the 80th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, where he initially flew the Bell P-400 (export version of the P-39). While the Airacobra was generally no match for the Japanese Zeke, Roberts downed two and damaged a third over Buna on 26 August 1942. He scored another double, a pair of Val dive bombers downed on 11 April 1943, before completing his first combat tour.

When the 475th Fighter Group was formed in the summer of 1943, Roberts joined its 432nd Squadron. On 21 August he became an ace by destroying two Hamps and shot down an Oscar on 9 September. Transferred to the 433 Fighter Squadron as its commander in October, he was credited with six Zekes between 17 and 29 October. His most outstanding action with the 433rd came on 2 November, when he was leading his P-38s on an escort mission to Rabaul. The P-38s dropped down to tree-top level and caught the Japanese fighters over Lakunai strip, one of which Roberts claimed as a probable in a head-on attack. Over Mautpi Island they encountered some 30-35 Japanese fighters and successfully broke up the formation to prevent their attacking U.S. bombers.

A week later Roberts was killed in action when one of the young wingmen in his formation cut his leader's tail boom on a crossover in the excitement of sighting enemy aircraft. The 14-victory ace crashed into the jungle.

Tally Record:
14 Confirmed
1 Probable
1 Damaged 

Decorations:
Silver Star
Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters

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