Wallace L. Wright Papers

Manuscript Collection #1173
Wright, Wallace L.
Physical description
0.4 Cubic Feet, 1 archival box, consisting of a flight record and log, a diary, photographs, a letter, and propaganda leaflets.
Preferred Citation
Wallace L. Wright Papers (#1173), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

This collection contains records (1942-1945) pertaining to Captain Wallace L. Wright's service in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Included are his Flight Record and Log, a diary (1933-1944) he kept when he was with the 8th Squadron 3rd Attack Group and other documents such as Special Orders (1943) and Individual Flight Record documents.

Biographical/historical information

Captain Wallace Lyndon Wright (1921-1965) was born in Alameda, California. He enlisted with the Army Air Corp in 1942. After completing his pilot training at US Air Force Bases at Oxnard, CA, and Greenville, SC, Captain Wallace L. Wright was deployed to the South West Pacific Area (S.W.P.A.) and began flying combat missions on 9 July 1943, serving in the Army Air Corps part of the 8th Squadron 3rd Bomber Group ("The Grim Reapers") piloting B-25 and A-20 bombers providing air support for US and Australian troops, most notably in the New Guinea Campaign (Operation Cartwheel 1943-1944). Promoted to 1st Lt. (Oct. 18th, 1943), Wright also served as Air, Sea Rescue Coordination Officer (March 1944) receiving a Purple Heart, an Air medal, and 2 clusters during his service.

Wright married Frances Critcher Wright (1919-2010) and had a son, Stuart T. Wright, the donor of this collection. Wallace Wright died at the age of 44 in 1965 in Durham, NC, survived by his wife Frances who died in Roxboro, NC, on 30 September 2010.

Source: East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1169-039, Stuart Wright Collection: Stuart Wright Papers https://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/1169-039

Scope and arrangement

This collection contains records of Captain Wallace L. Wright's military service (1942-1945) as a bomber pilot in the Army Air Corps during WW II in the 8th Squadron, 3rd Bomber Group, in the South West Pacific, specifically in New Guinea, Hollandia (Jayapura), and New Britain. Included is Wright's personal diary with entries from June 1943 through June 1944, detailing daily experiences including combat and bombing missions in the New Guinea Campaign (Operation Cartwheel 1943-1944). Wright began entries on 10 June 1943, crossing out the printed 1944 date, and overlapped entries with a line dividing repeated days from 1943 and 1944. Capt. Wright's diary accounts for missions #1-71 while stationed in the South West Pacific Area (S.W.P.A.) specifically: Port Moresby, New Guinea, and Hollandia (Jayapura) under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. An entry dated 4 November 1943 recounts the losses sustained during a famed attack on Simpson Harbor, New Britain, mentioning Major Raymond H. Wilkins being shot down after sinking 2 Japanese ships, although Wright was on leave during the mission. Capt. Wright drew crosses to mark missions where fellow pilots died. Wright's entries mention that he flew B-25s (Fat Cat) and later A-20's which the 8th Squadron switched to in Oct 1944. Other planes mentioned include the Allied: P-38 Lighting, P-47 Thunderbolt, and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and the Japanese: Ki-21 Sally. Within the pages of the diary were pictures and leaflets Capt. Wright collected during the course of his deployment. These included pictures of his sister and nephew, and propaganda leaflets dropped from airplanes on civilians and Japanese soldiers in New Guinea. Two of the leaflets are written in Australian-Pidgin.

The collection also contains flight logs and flight records (1942-1945) detailing pilot training at US Air Force Base Oxnard, CA, and Greenville, SC (1942-1943), while flying PT-13Bs, BT-13As HT-17s, B-25s, A-20s, C-47s, A-26s. Capt. Wright began flying combat missions from Moresby Bay on 9 July 1943, his last numbered combat mission #80 was marked on 28 July 1944 but the combat and flying log continues on until 22 June 1945. Special orders distributed during Capt. Wright's time at the Army Base in Greenville, SC (April-May 1943), include lists of crews and their ranks.

Capt. Wright's Pilot Information file includes Pilot Instrument certification forms, an B-25 Qualification certification form dated 8 February 1944, an A-26 Qualification form dated 2 February 1945, listings of flight hours, listing of flight maneuvers completed, physical examination files conducted by Flight Surgeon, and a completed Flying Regulations Exam taken 29 March 1945.

The collection also contains a few personal items belonging to Capt. Wright including a list detailing a stretching routine possibly for long flights, pencil doodles/cartoons of drawn by Capt. Wright commenting on girls and free time, and a letter to his mother dated 19 December 1942 written during his time stationed in Greenville, SC. Also included is a shoulder patch of the 5th Air Force displaying five smaller stars in the form of the Southern Cross, which is in the area where the 5th received its "baptism of fire," the comet design is taken from the unit's former aircraft markings, and the three tails of the comet represent bombers, fighters and troop carriers.

Administrative information
Custodial History

November 16, 2010, .4 cubic feet; Records (1942-1945) document Mr. Wright's service in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Included are his Flight Record and Log, 1944 diary when he was with the 8th Squadron 3rd Bomb Group, Special Orders (1943), Individual Flight Record documents and Pilots' Information File (Temporary Record of Compliance). Also included are photographs, a letter, a clipping, four items written in Japanese and an Army Air Corps 5th Air Force badge. Donor: Dr. Stuart T. Wright.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Dr. Stuart T. Wright

Processing information

Processed November 4, 2015, by Mateusz Polakowski

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Diary kept by a bomber pilot during WW2 in the Army Air Corps (8th Squaron 3rd Attack Group) describing military actions and leave during deployment to the South Pacific, and photographs of family members and propaganda pamphlets found between pages of diary, 1943-1944
Box 1 Folder b Wright's Flight Log listing all training and combat missions, May 1942-June 1945
Box 1 Folder c Individual Flight Records, 1942-1945
Box 1 Folder e Pilot's Information File including certification and qualification forms, physical exams, and flying regulation exam, 1944-1945
Box 1 Folder f Photographs: Wallace L. Wright in Uniform, undated
Box 1 Folder g Personal items including 5th Air Force patch, letter to mother dated 19 December 1942, stretching routine, and sketches/cartoons drawn by Wright