Charles E. Wright (1944/09/01)
According to the World War II US War Department records, Charles E. Wright listed Santa Cruz County as his home; however, no records have been found in the county to confirm his residency. Wright's enlistment records indicate that he was born in Oklahoma in 1923, and had attended high school for three years. In November 1942, he was single, unemployed and living in Stanislaus County, California.
Charles Wright enlisted in the United States Army in San Francisco on November 18, 1942, and was assigned to the Air Force. Since death records indicate that he was a first lieutenant, he most likely entered the air cadet program and was trained to serve as a pilot or navigator. At the time of his commissioning Wright listed Santa Cruz County as his residence, but it may have been the residence of his next of kin.
Charles was assigned to the 358th Bomber Squadron of the 303rd Bomber Group, Heavy, of the 8th US Air Force stationed in Moelsworth, England. Most of the bombing missions flown by that squadron were flown over Germany.
On September 1, 1944, the plane in which First Lieutenant Charles E. Wright was a crewmember crashed during a mission, resulting in his death. His remains were recovered and buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge England. His awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart.
(ACGEN; ABMC; NARA2; Hells Angels, 303 Bomber Group, 31 January 1998, http://www.303rdbg.com/, [16 September 2008])