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Capt Oran Stanley Watts

Capt Oran Stanley Watts

Tulare, Tulare County, California, USA
Death 14 Jan 1990 (aged 67)
Buffalo, Erie County, New York, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 74253136 · View Source
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ORAN WATTS, pilot, dies at 68; was early ace with Flying Tigers
By Lonnie Hudkins
News Staff Reporter
Services for Oran S. Watts, 68, the first fighter pilot to become an ace in the famous Black Lightning Squadron of Gen. C. L. Chennault's 14th Air Force "Flying Tigers" in China during World Ward ll, are scheduled for 10 a.m. today in the Link-Fox Funeral Home, 355 Grant St.

The decorated hero, who moved to Buffalo with his wife Mayburt, last September, died Sunday (Jan. 14, 1990) in Millard Fillmore Hospital after suffering a heart attack while sweeping the floor of the basement in his sister-in-law's house on Grant Street.

Watts, a native of Tulare, Calif., was officially credited with shooting down 7 1/2 Japanese planes and another six unofficially while in the famous Flying Tigers.

He was awarded 23 medal, including the Silver Star -- the nations's third highest for valor, and the Distinguished Flying Cross, with four oak leaf clusters, as well as the Air Medal, with eight oak leaf clusters, and the Bronze Star.

The rows of ribbons that covered his chest when he was discharged a captain in the Army Air Forces also included the Purple Heart, with three oak leaf clusters, for wounds and injuries he suffered in the fierce fighting for supremacy of the skies over China.

His exploits included on incident in which he was shot down in eastern China and rescued from under the noses of the Japanese troops. He was seriously hurt when his hip hit the tail section of his lane as he bailed out. He landed in a rice paddy, according to ledgen, and was whisked to safety by guerrillas, who faked a funeral for him to fool the enemy troops and then carried him 186 mile by stretcher to American forces. He had been listed as missing in action for 30 days when he was delivered to his unit.

The injury to his left hip and to his knee were to bother him for the rest of his life, however, according to his wife, he underwent a second-hip replacement operation last year before moving to Buffalo, she said.

After the war, Watts worked in his family's construction business in California until his retirement. "He didn't
do much flying after the war," said his wife of 12 years the former Mayburt Davis. "He didn't want to fly because of his hip."

Mrs. Watts, a native of Hornell, said she met and married him while she was working in a E. f. Hutton brokerage office in Los Angeles. " We moved here to be with my sister, Hazel Brown, who is a widow."

Watts was sweeping the basement Sunday afternoon, Mrs. Watts said, "when he sat down in a chair to rest. I was away from him for abut two minutes. When I returned to him, he was unconscious. I called for help and the paramedics came. A littler later I learned from the hospital that he had died from a heart attack."

Although he had lived in Buffalo for only a short time, Watts "loved it here and had made a lot of friends/" She said he didn't like to talk much about his war exploits.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sisters, Maxine Watts (should be Lindquist) and Mona McNulty (should be McNutt) of Tulare.

Mrs. Watts said her husband's body would be cremated and his ashes interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
( Oran was my cousin born in Texas raised and went to school
in Tulare, CA. from an early age that possibly why author of artical said native of Tulare)

Family Members

  • Created by: Jody Chadduck
  • Added: 1 Aug 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 74253136
  • Jody Chadduck
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Oran Stanley Watts (3 Apr 1922–14 Jan 1990), Find A Grave Memorial no. 74253136, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Jody Chadduck (contributor 47042796) .