Paul S. Rutledge

NAME
Paul Saunders Rutledge
NICKNAME
King Kong
SERVICE NUMBER
O-10184
HOME OF RECORD
6016 36th Street Northeast, Seattle, WA
NEXT OF KIN
Mother, Mrs. Edna G. Bolman
DATE OF BIRTH
June 27, 1918
ENTERED SERVICE
May 19, 1941
DATE OF LOSS
October 14, 1942
REGION
Solomons
CAMPAIGN / AREA
Guadalcanal / Santa Isabel Island
CASUALTY TYPE
MIA (Declared Dead)
19 February 1945
UNIT
VMF-121
DUTY
Pilot
CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
Second Lieutenant Paul “King Kong” Rutledge, a fighter pilot assigned to VMF-121, arrived at Guadalcanal’s Henderson Field on 6 October 1942.

On 14 October, after a sleepless night under the guns of a pair of Japanese battleships, the Cactus Air Force went out looking for revenge. They attacked force of enemy destroyers and transports south of Santa Isabel Island that evening, bombing and strafing in the face of heavy antiaircraft fire.

Second Lieutenant Rutledge fell victim to enemy action during the attack; none of his buddies saw his aircraft go down. He was declared missing in action, and a presumptive finding of death was issued on 19 February 1945.

INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK
Second Lieutenant
Posthumous promotion to Captain.
STATUS OF REMAINS
Not recovered.
MEMORIALS
Manila American Cemetery

Biography:
Temporarily removed for editing and updating. Contact the webmaster for information on this Marine.


Later that day [14 October] I led a raid on six troop transports which the Japs were trying to sneak in north of Santa Ysabel, accompanied by warships. We went through heavy anti-aircraft fire to strafe the decks, which were packed with standing soldiers. It was a slaughter— the slugs from my .50-caliber guns must have killed scores. I wish some of the boys we lost at Pearl Harbor could have been there to see it.
One of our men failed to come back. He was Lieutenant Paul S. (King Kong) Rutledge, of Seattle, Washington, a city that gave us many fine flyers. He was a big, easygoing fellow. We never heard what happened to him.
– Captain Joe Foss, VMF-121, in Joe Foss, Flying Marine: The Story Of His Flying Circus As Told To Walter Simmons, 1943

Articles and Records:

Excerpt from the War Diary of MAG-23, 14 October 1942. Note that this document attributes Rutledge’s loss to a fighter intercept rather than an escort mission – a statement contradicted by Rutledge’s flight leader, Captain Joe Foss.

Photo Gallery:

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