The C.E. Daniel Collection
|1st Lt. Robert D. Cutting
96th Fighter Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group
12th Army Air Force
Adorimini - "Up and At 'Em"
The Slugging Jackrabbits Callsign - Cowtail
This page shows a grouping recently added to my private collection relating to
1st Lt. Robert D. Cutting, a 50 mission, P-38 fighter pilot with the 96th Fighter
Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group, 12th Air Force. The grouping is comprised of
personal letters, original wartime era photographs, paperwork, Cutting's original
pair of wings and additional items from Cutting's military service time.
Robert "Limpy" Douglas Cutting II, AAC serial # 0-743422, was born on October
7, 1919 in New York, New York. In 1941, although a photographer by trade,
Cutting found himself working for the California Shipbuilding Corporation in
Wilmington, California, just as America was unknowingly about to enter into
WWII. Standing at 6 feet, 130 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes, and just a
few years older than most Air Corps pilots beginning their flying career, Cutting
was undoubtedly a lanky, jovial figure of a pilot.
At some point, Cutting met and began to date a striking young woman who was
attempting to start a career as a Hollywood actress. Ermadean Walters was a
stunning beauty who earned her first big role in the movie, The Song of
Bernadette (1943), which won four Oscars. As a result of her rising stardom and
a contract with the studio, the couple was secretly married on March 27, 1943,
by a justice of the peace in Chandler, Arizona, where Cutting was undergoing
During his combat career, Cutting completed 50 missions, was credited with the
kill of an Me-109, and would be awarded the Air Medal with 9 Oakleaf Clusters,
the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Presidential Unit citation and the European
African Middle Eastern Medal, as well as the WWII Victory Medal.
|A photographs showing 1st Lt. Cutting sitting with his family,
and his starlet wife, Ermadean Walters Cutting. As 1st Lt.
Cutting is wearing a pair of Army Air Corps wings and a
wedding ring, this photograph was taken after the details of
their marriage had surfaced and following his graduation from
|Above, Cutting sitting in the cockpit of his P-38 and a photograph of Cutting receiving his Distinguished Flying
Cross and Air Medal. To the far left of the photograph is Maj. C.C. Smith who was awarded a Silver Star, and the
pilot on Cutting's right side is Capt. E.C. Bennett, who was awarded an Air Medal. The officer with his back to
the camera is Col. Harry N. Burkhalter Jr.
The Distinguished Flying Cross: (from the original decoration document)
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
Robert D. Cutting, 0-743422, FIrst Lieutenant, Air Corps, United States Army. For extraordinary achievement
while particpating in aerial flight as pilot of a P-38 type aircraft. On 10 December 1943, while acting as escort for
heavy bombardment aircraft on a vital mission over ----------, Bulgaria, he assisted in driving off approximately
thirty (30) enemy fighters, one (1) of which he severely damaged. Then in answer to a call for help from a
straggling bomber which was being attacked by several enemy planes, he turned back alone and successfully
drove off the enemy, after which he escorted the lone bomber back to its formation. When a final unexpected
attack by approximately twenty (20) enemy aircraft was made at the Albanian coast, Lieutenant Cutting assisted
in driving off the enemy before they could reach the bombers and himself destroyed one (1) Me-109, shooting it
down in flames. When this fight ended, Lieutenant Cutting remained behind to round up several straggling
P-38's into a flight which he led safely back to base through a solid overcast, landing long after the main
formation. The action was typical of the unselfish and courageous spirit which had characterized his fifty (50)
successful combat missions against the enemy. By his conspicuous leadership and unswerving devotion to
duty, he has reflected great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
Residence at appointment, Los Angeles, California.
By Command of Major General Twining
Y. H. Taylor
Chief of Staff
|Above: A V-Mail sent from Cutting to his
wife, indicating his confirmed kill of an
Me-109, and the damaging of two Fw-190s
and a Macci 202 during combat in
Right: An original combat report for the
famed mission of September 2, 1943,
involving aircraft from the 95th, 96th and
97th Fighter Squadrons, during an escort
mission. The report is complete and
several pages long.
|This page is dedicated to the men of the 82nd Fighter Group, which was comprised of the 95th,
96th, and 97th Fighter Squadrons. Despite being one of the first units to arrive in the MTO, the
82nd established themselves as professional and proficient aviators, and remained the top
scoring group in the MTO throughout the war. Thank you all for your service.
If anyone has any additional items related to Cutting's service time, or any additional information
concerning 1st Lt. Cutting or any of the other men shown on this page, I would enjoy hearing
For additional information related to the 82nd Fighter Group, also visit:
More Men of the 96th Fighter Squadron:
|Left: Major Donald L. Perry,
Commanding Officer of the 96th
|Above and left: Numerous photographs showing Bert
Morris (wearing the visor cap) and pilot Bradley Prann
(wearing the flight helmet and goggles.)
George P. Brown
|Above (L to R): Dan McDonald, Arthur W. Larkin,
Musolf, Bert Morris, unknown, James O. Nuckols,
and Louis C. Champion .
|Above (L to R): Louis C. Champion, Bradley
Prann, Bert Morris, George M. Mitchell.
George M. Mitchell
Above: Two photographs believed to be related to the first mission flown by Italian pilots against Germany!
The missions involved Italian pilots escorting 8 pilots of the 96th Fighter Squadron on a dive bombing
mission. Cutting remarks about these photographs in a letter to his wife, providing scant details about the
mission, but indicating that the mission included 8 American P-38 pilots and 8 Italian fighter pilots providing
Above: A terrific photograph showing the "officers club" of the 96th Fighter Squadron. The "Slugging
Jackrabbit" insignia of the 96th Fighter Squadron is seen painted on the back wall of the club.
|An original era studio photograph of
Ermadean Walters Cutting, taken for
the film The Song of Bernadette (1943).
The Rest of the Story:
Lt. Cutting became one of the first American jet pilots flying the Bell P-59, assigned to the 29th FS, 412thFG in
Bakersfield, CA. Cutting took his first flight in the jet powered XP-59 on March 6, 1945. The 29th was led by Lt.
Col. Robert L. Petit with the executive officer being Major Rex T. Barber. (Barber would be best known as the
pilot who shot down Yamamoto's aircraft during the war.) After the war, Cutting went on to a successful
business career in aviation markings until his death in April of 1955, in a private plane crash off Malibu, CA. His
wife Ermadean continued to reside in the San Fernando Valley until her passing in 1991. His son Robert still
resides in the valley and has been a life long aviation enthusiast. His daughter Wendy passed in 2010 leaving
behind four grandchildren: Jamie, Courtney, Corey and Casey and two great grandchildren Kelly and Damon.
|Above: A photograph showing Cutting's original pair of Army Air Corps wings, with his Air Corps jacket
as a backdrop.