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L. E. Witt papers

 Collection
Identifier: LH-0082

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains the papers of L. E. Witt including correspondence, family and newspaper interviews, maps, military orders, mission reports, newspapers, photographs, pilot training guides, plane exhibitions, programs, and target maps. In box 4 folders 6-8 contain later in life newspaper interviews with L. E. Witt about his experiencing teaching Charles Lindbergh the controls of a P-38 Lightning combat plane.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within Bulk, 1941-1953
  • 1920-2014

Creator

Conditions Governing Access note

Open to all users; no restrictions

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright has been transferred to the University of West Georgia Library.

Biographical/Historical note

L. E. Witt (1916-2003) was born to Lynn and Jimmie Jones Witt in Jonesville, Georgia on April 8, 1916. He graduated from Bowdon High School in 1934, and the following year he attended Bowdon College. He attended West Georgia College from 1936 to 1937. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He trained at Maxwell Field outside of Birmingham, Alabama and later at the Greenville Base in Mississippi. He learned how to pilot both the P-38 Lightning and the P-40 Warhawk fighter planes. In February of 1943 he joined the 35th Fighter Squadron 8th Pursuit Group in Australia. The 35th Fighter Squadron moved to New Guinea in April of 1943. He completed a record 326 flying missions during his 30 months in the Pacific Theater. In 1944 he received the ace pilot title for his outstanding flight record. He became a captain, and he led bombing missions against the Japanese on the islands surrounding the Philippines. He was one of only a few pilots to sink an enemy destroyer by using just strafing fire. This act earned him the Distinguished Service Cross. In June of 1944 he had the opportunity to teach Charles Lindbergh the controls of the P-38 Lightning. Later Lindbergh taught the other pilots how to increase the amount of time that it was possible to fly without needing to refuel. Witt returned home to the United States in the summer of 1945 as one of the most celebrated pilots in the United States Army Air Forces.

After the completion of World War II, Witt continued to serve in the Air Force and he held different military positions throroughout the country. He also spent time working for the Air Force in Germany during the 1950s. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and later he graduated with a master’s degree in political science from Jackson College in Hawaii. He retired from the Air Force in 1969 as a colonel with full honors. He met his wife Edna May Strong in Ohio, and they had three children. In 1969 he returned to Bowdon, Georgia, and he worked on the Carroll Country Family and Child Service Board and the Carroll County Water Authority. He died in July of 2003. The Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame inducted him into their honorable membership in 2010.

Extent

2.44 Linear feet (4 boxes, 1 OV folder, 2 map folders)

Language

English

Overview

Papers of L. E. Witt (1916-2003), World War II ace fighter pilot. Witt flew a record 326 completed mission in the Pacific Theater. He also taught Charles Lindbergh the controls of a P-38 Lightning combat plane.

Arrangement note

Arranged in five series:

• Series I – Photographs • Series II – Military Letters • Series III – World War II Pilot Training Guides and Missions Reports • Series IV – World War II Advertising and Newspapers • Series V – Post Military Career and Life

Materials are arranged chronological and by series from 1920 to 2014.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Collection donated by James C. Witt in July 2014.

Processing Information note

Processed by Cody Doegg, 2014
Title
Guide to the L. E. Witt Papers LH-0082
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Written by Cody Doegg
Date
2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of West Georgia Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Special Collections, Ingram Library
University of West Georgia
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton GA 30118-2000 United States