First Lieutenant Harry Deutman Jr., Plane Rescuer
Ladue, Missouri Bomber Pilot An Air Rescue Hero
Flyer Has Protected Damaged, Planes, Dropped Aid to Crews Shot Down.
A reputation as a one-man flying rescue squad for shell-ridden bomber
planes and wavering fighter planes has been established by First Lt. Harry
Deutman Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Deutman, an Army press dispatch
repotted today. He is 20 years old.
On four occasions Lt. Deutman, pilot of a B-26 Marauder, has pulled out of
formations to escort bombers damaged by fink or fighters with engine
trouble, to drop life rafts and emergency equipment to occupants of planes
that have been-shot down, or to add his plane's fire power to that of a
straggling comrade being overpowered by the enemy.
The Army dispatch from a North African base reported that Lt. Deutman, who
has flown 50 successful missions, recently completed a job of bombing an
important railroad bridge on the Rome-Florence line and then finished up
by helping the crew of another plane that encountered trouble.
"On the way into the target, just before we crossed the-coast," Lt.
Deutman explained, "my tail gunner called out that a B-26 was going down
with engine smoke. I was from a different squadron and kept on going.
"Coming back, I told the crew to watch out for any sign of the plane and
the bombardier spotted an oil slick and life raft off the coast. We got
permission from the flight commander to go down and circled them three
times, dropping another raft and an emergency radio.
"Then we climbed to 10,000 feet, gave, a distress call and got the hell
out of there." All told, Lt. Deutman spent 40 minutes on his own within
sight of the Italian coast.
Meanwhile, another formation of fighters that was flying a few miles away
was attacked by German fighters.
Previously, Lt. Deutman, had dropped equipment to a crew whose plane went
down in the water after a raid on Naples, in addition to twice escorting
damaged planes to successful landings at friendly bases.
The Air Medal and seven Oak Leaf clusters have been awarded to Lt. Deutman,
who attended University City High School and Purdue University before he
enlisted in September, 1941.