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Lt. Gerald Lott, U.S. Navy

Gerald  Lott, USN, and his wife, Kathy (Douthat) Lott, during WWII..

Photo courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Gerald Lott, USN, and his wife, Kathy (Douthat) Lott, during WWII.
Photo courtesy of Kim Fowles.

The Western Star, June 27, 1947.

Lieut. Gerald Lott Awarded Air Medal

Was Fighter Pilot in Pacific on Two Carriers

Lieutenant (Senior Grade) Gerald D. Lott, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. V. Lott of Wilmore was awarded the Air Medal for strikes in the Marshall Islands in February, 1944, as a pilot of a Grumman Wildcat fighter plane attached to the airplane carrier with VC-63 on Litkum (sic) Bay.

The presentation was made by the Navy Commander in charge of Rodd Field at Corpus Christi, Texas, May 11, 1947.

Lieut. Lott is an instructor in S. N. J's at Cabaniss Field, Corpus Christi, where he has been stationed the past 18 months. During the war he was attached to carriers in the Pacific two times, the first in 1942 when he was a fighter pilot on the Natoma Bay. For awhile he was with the Third Fleet under Admiral Halsy. Gerald has been in the Navy five years. He and his wife and two children, Charles Lee, three years, and Nancy, 6 months, make their home in Corpus Christi.

Email to Nate Massey from Jerry Ferrin, 20 Dec 2005:

Following is a copy of an article re: Gerald Lott which I rec'd. today, and the info. in it allowed me to find at least one carrier from which he flew, USS Natoma Bay.

The page states that the carrier had "FM" and "TBF" planes in Feb. 1944 when G. Lott won an Air Medal. A TBF, I think, is a torpedo bomber. Can you tell me what an "FM" aircraft was? Do you know the name of the 2nd carrier he served on?

Email from Nate Massey to Jerry Ferrin, 21 Dec 2005:

I didn't realize Gerald was in the service that long. An FM is one version of the F4F Wildcat there were several designations of the Wildcat, F4F/G36/Eastern (GM)FM. and a Wildcat/Martlet. I don't know if they designated manufacturers or what. The TBM was a big old horse of a Torpedo plane and had a 3 man crew, I expect at the time of the Marshall campaigns in 1943 which would have been Eniwetok, Kwajaline, etc. he saw a lot of action.

Actually, the Japs had superior fighter planes to ours at that time: the Zero was at least 75 mph faster than the Wildcats and turn in about half the radius -- of course, they were only about 2/3 as heavy and had no pilot protection whatsoever. The American planes all had pilot back and seat armor and the airframes could withstand probably 10 times as much damage as the Zekes.

The old TBM's were designed as Torpedo planes and could be fitted with bombs also. They were an easy target for Zeros which were about 100 mph faster.

The Americans never had a plane that could out maneuver the Zeke; in late '45 we finally got P-51's in the Pacific which could nearly match their maneuverability and were about 50 mph faster. Actually, the US eventually had 3 or 4 planes that were faster than the Zekes, the P38, Corsair, F-6 and F-8's but there was no doubt about it for the first 4 years of the war we hung on by having better pilots, not better planes.

Email from Nate Massey to Jerry Ferrin, 21 Dec 2005:

I wasn't in contact too much with Gerald after the war. I'm pretty sure that he ended up flying Vought F4 Corsairs before the end of the war. The Corsair was one of the hot planes for its time and had the largest radial engine available at that time along with F-6 Hellcat. If I recall correctly, the Corsair without full armament could top 450 mph; of course, when loaded, I think cruising speed was in the 350 to 375 range depending on altitude and load. They also hooked bombs on them occasionally.

I was trying to recall what carriers were supporting us when we hit Okinawa, I know their were at least 6 of the big boys like the Hornet, Yorktown, Enterprise - class and don't know how many dozen of the smaller ones were there, I know there were at least 5 battleships firing their 16 inch guns with their 2,000 lb shells over us - you could actually see them big boys going over head - not counting cruisers , destroyers , rocket launcher ships, etc. If I recall correctly there were over 1,200 ships in on that campaign and that wasn't any too many; we got the heck knocked out of us. I think the ground troops lost over 20,000 there and the nips over 200,000 - pretty bloody show.

If I remember right there were over 200 ships damaged or sank by Kamikazes at that time.

The Social Security Death Index only lists one Gerald Lott whose SS# was issued in Kansas: Gerald D. Lott, born 27 Feb 1920, died 26 April 1993 in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Social Security # 510-12-9046.

When his father's obituary was published in November of 1964, Gerald was living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In September 1977, when his mother's obituary was published, Gerald was living in Ponca City, Oklahoma.

The Heritage Park Veterans's Memorial tablets list "Lott, Gerald Duane" as a World War II veteran.

Also see:

George Washington Lott, paternal grandfather of Gerald Lott.

Ella Bird (Van Horn) Lott, paternal grandmother of Gerald Lott.

Charles Van Lott, father of Gerald Lott.

W.E. Holmes, maternal grandfather of Gerald Lott.

Dora (Owens) Holmes, maternal grandmother of Gerald Lott.

Comanche County Boys Now In The Armed Forces, The Western Star, February 13, 1942.

Lt. H.R. "Redbird" Burnett, USNR   "Several weeks ago Lieut. (j. g.) Gerald Lott of Wilmore was flying his Navy fighter plane in the Southwest Pacific and he was returning to his ship when he switched to another short wave length to hear a voice say, "All right Redbird, what do we do next?" Lieut. Burnett, squadron leader of his fighter group, had evidently completed with his squadron another mission over their objective." -- The Western Star, August 18, 1944.

John Guyer: Memories of the Wilmore, Kansas, Community

U.S.S. Natoma Bay (CVE-62)

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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