1st Lt. William Nutzel KIA in N. Africa

North African Pursuit Pilot
Lt. Nutzel, Reported Dead
Missing Since March 22,
He Is Commended
By Air Force Commander

(June 25, 1943) -- A letter of condolence from Gen. G.C. Marshall, chief of staff in the war department of Washington was received by William G. Nutzel of Glendale St, this week, on the death of his son 1st Lt. William J. Nutzel Jr., killed in action in North Africa on March 22.

The young pursuit pilot attached to a reconnaissance division in the U.S. Army air corps had been reported missing on April 20, but news of his death was not made known until his father received a letter from Gen H.H. Arnold, commanding general of the U.S. air forces prior to a release by the war department this week.

Commending the lieutenant the General wrote, ''I am advised that the splendid record established by Lt. Nutzel at Craig Field marked him as a pilot of unusual ability. When on active duty with the army air forces he fulfilled the promises of his cadet training period and repeatedly earned the praise of his superiors for outstanding courage and military excellence. We are proud of his accomplishments and mourn the loss of Lt. Nutzel who was affectionately regarded by all who knew him well for his friendly modest personality.''

An American Legion ritual will be performed on July 1, under the direction of Joseph P. Brown, acting senior vice commander, First of the Nutley Post 70, sons of the American Legion squadron to be killed in service, a gold star has been placed for him on the post's service flag by the auxiliary.

Nutzel, 24-years-old, was in his second year at Fordham Law school when he enlisted long before Pearl Harbor and was called 10 days after that climactic event. An honor student, he had been attending Fordham on a scholarship granted following his graduation from St. Peter's college in Jersey City with highest honors. After intensive training here which included the ''hedge hopping'' that became part of his routine in the North African theatre, Nutzel was sent to England in September of last year.
  
Piloted Aircobra
  
Among the fliers left behind their ''outfit'' when it sailed for Africa, they spent their time testing and checking the Aircobras or P-19s that were to be the first of their kind flown the long 1200 mile route from England to the African base.

His single-engine fighter christened ''Lollypop'' for his sister Laura, made the trip non-stop, and remained his ship as far as is known, throughout his African experiences.

Contrasting the climates, he wrote to his family that they left England after breakfast on a ''cold, windy sleeting morning'' and landed in Africa where it was ''warm and dry,'' in time for dinner champagne and all.

This was in January and soon after, he wrote that he had been made and intelligence officer on which he commented, ''The bulk of the work is censoring the mail but it is very interesting  -- you get to know what is going on.''

Stationed somewhere in the vicinity of historical Casablanca meeting, Nutzel related that they had expected ''F.D.R.'' to visit them, but had been disappointed.

He was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant on March 6 after which he wrote ''Lollypop and I have been seeing quite a bit of country. I have been to Algiers  and Oran and several other spots. There are some real sights over here, especially mountains, plenty high and snow capped. Some of the boys say it reminds them of Arizona.''

The Arabs are a poor lot, he related. ''well stripped by the Germans.''

His father and sister Laura have received some Arab slippers and scarves, however as proof of his ability to bargain with the natives who ''usually wanted four times the value'' of the purchase.
  
Described His 'Apartment'
  
Nutzel's last two letters home, dated March 20 and 21, just prior to his death, reflected satisfaction with conditions as he found them in Africa coupled with a desire to get ''it over'' and return home.

One written to his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. L.P. Nutzel, of New Vernon, told that he had just returned from hearing mass in a little gully where the war seemed far away.

He described his ''apartment'' - completely underground with electric light and an oil stove. ''Don't worry about the Germans and Italian getting hell,'' he told them, ''they are getting it - and plenty.''

One to his Dad written at the same time described the ''good tan'' he was getting, and he observed that it would take a lot of hot weather to bake out the dampness he picked up in England.

The lieutenant once stated that he wouldn't swap his pilot status for all the jobs in the army, and wrote, ''still the best antidote I have found for that 'down in the dumps' feeling is to go way up alone and just look at the clouds and sky and the earth far away. It's like good shot of liquor, only better. You feel that you have really lived for a time at least.''

Born in Newark, his family moved here in 1935.


The Nutley Sun, June 25, 1943

North African Pursuit Pilot
Lt. Nutzel, Reported Dead
Missing Since March 22,
He Is Commended By Air Force Commander

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World War II


  

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