|Birth: ||Mar. 1, 1919, USA|
|Death: ||Jan. 16, 1942|
2ND LT US ARMY, WORLD WAR II
Fred enlisted in the Army Air Corps on December 31, 1940, as an Aviation Cadet. He achieved the rank of 2ND Lieutenant.
Lt. Dittman was killed in a tragic airplane crash. The night of his death, Fred was 22 years old.
All passengers and personnel aboard TWA Flight DC-3 died on January 16, 1942 during a violent collision into the side of Mount Potosi, in Nevada. The location of the crash site was high on the east face of the mountain. Those who perished were a crew of 3 along with 4 civilian travelers, including Carole Lombard, the wife of Clark Gable. The 15 other passengers were Army Air Corps servicemen. A total of 22 lives lost.
★This is Fred's story, as passed down in our family:
Frederick J. Dittman was my father-in-law's best friend. Fred was with the Air Corps Ferrying Command during WWII. His job was to ferry new aircraft from California to Canada, at which point the British pilots would take charge to move the planes on to Europe.
After an assignment, Lieutenant Dittman had always taken military "hops" to return to California. A fellow pilot had a seat on a commercial flight and when discussing their means of air travel, this was the exchange between them; Lieut. Dittman remarked, "I've never been on a stratoliner, I'd like to see how it goes." "Take my seat," Lieut. Voorhees offered, "I've ridden them." [Indiana Evening Gazette Indiana PA Tuesday, January 20, 1942]
The TWA Flight 3 plane departed from Albuquerque on January 16, 1942, with a crew of 3, along with the 15 Army personnel aboard, plus 4 civilians. It stopped at Las Vegas to refuel, then after take off, 23 minutes later and 7 miles off course, hit the icy mountainside of Mount Potosi, in Nevada, violently crashing. The 22 passengers & crew were killed. Fifteen of the dead were Army Servicemen, including Fred Dittman. It was that TWA DC-3 Flight, made so famous, with Carole Lombard and her mother being two of the the civilian passengers.
"Lieut. Voorhees' name remained on the TWA passenger list. He came on in Dittman's seat in another plane telephoned headquarters and enabled officials to correct the list almost before it was circulated." [Indiana Evening Gazette Indiana PA Tuesday, January 20, 1942]
My husband's dad was troubled by the news stories, many of which gave preeminence to the famous names of Lombard & Gable. Although Carole Lombard Gable, who was intensely patriotic, was doing her part for the country too...just returning from a successful War Bond rally. Carole was affectionately know as "Defense Bond Saleslady No. 1."
My father-in-law Bill attended Fred's funeral and so did the fellow pilot who had traded places with Lt. Dittman. During the gathering Lieutenant Voorhees spoke - to tell the story of their exchanged fates.
When my husband was born in 1941, just 9 months before Lt. Dittman's death, the name given to him was George Frederick. His middle name was chosen to honor the friendship between Bill Gordon and Fred Dittman. He too, has always been called "Fred."
After Fred Dittman's death, young Fred Gordon was presented with Lt. Dittman's bible, which has "Frederick Dittman" impressed on the front cover. It was cared for by Bill & Anna Gordon until my husband was a grown man. The treasured bible is now in our care. We also have a photo of Lt. Dittman, in his military uniform. Most recently we are honored to have been bestowed with Lt. Dittman's framed Certificate of Appreciation presented by the President and our grateful Nation. This cherished certificate is signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
*On Memorial Day 2013 we placed Fred's coffin flag, which is also in our possession, in a special flag display holder.
LT. FREDERICK DITTMAN
He was married Dec. 22, 1941
Ex-Santa Clara Gridder Among Airliner Dead
Lieutenant Frederick J. Dittman, 22, one of the Army flyers killed in the TWA plane crash on Table Mountain, was a former Santa Rosa High School boy. He was at University of Santa Clara for two years, where he played football.
Later he attended University of California for a year. He enlisted in the Air Corps in January 1941 and was graduated from Barksdale Field, La. He had been ferrying planes across from Long Beach to Canada.
His mother, Mrs. Katherine Dittman, lives in Oakland at 6488 Regent street. A twin sister, Mrs. Marcella Altman, 3287 Kempton avenue, and two brothers Robert and Philip, survive.
The family said he was married on December 22 to [Violet] Cecelia McIntire of San Francisco.
*Published - along w/ Fred's photograph
Date: Sunday, January 18, 1942
Paper: San Francisco Chronicle
"Remember me in the Family Tree - my name, my days, my strife. Then I'll ride upon the wings of time and live an endless life."
Fred August Dittman (1885 - 1937)
Katherine Phillips Dittman (1888 - 1963)
Violet Cecelia McIntyre Dittman (1919 - 2008)*
Frederick Junior Dittman (1919 - 1942)
Marcella Dittman Altmann (1919 - 2008)*
Note: 2nd photo is Burton K. Voorhees *Military Rites were held for Fred on Monday, January 26, 1942
Golden Gate National Cemetery
San Mateo County
Plot: Section K Site 2801-A
Maintained by: GeorgiaCA
Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Offi...
Record added: Mar 04, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 3525112