In honor of the 239th birthday of the United States Marine Corps, we have here a photograph of Lieutenant Gordon Ryhs Lewis.
Lewis, a 23-year-old squadron officer with VMSB-233, was a highly decorated veteran of many dive bombing missions; he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross “for heroism and extraordinary achievement.” His radioman-gunner, Corporal Samuel Melish of Cincinnati, was likewise experienced; the two flew together for nearly eighteen months.
On January 28, 1945, Lewis and Melish took their last flight.
The Dauntless dive bomber hit the ground about four miles from Fort Stotsenburg, near Clark Air Force Base – far behind Japanese lines. There was no chance to rescue or recover Lewis or Melish, so their comrades held a moving ceremony at the newly re-christened Camp Lewis.
Semper Fi, Marines.
Satellite views of the location of the Lewis crash site. The pin is set at 120° 15’E, 15° 30’N.
Photograph of Lt. Lewis and newspaper article kindly provided by Jean Smith.