Cerro Gordo County

Cpl. Leland Faktor

Born 17 May 1921
Died May 1942


Plymouth Youth Who Took Part in Raid on Tokio (sic)
Reported Killed in Action
Corp. Leland Faktor Buried in Military Ceremony in China.

A Cerro Gordo county youth, Corp. Leland Faktor, who only recently was awarded the distinguished service cross for his participation in the raid on Tokio (sic) with Brig. Gen. James II Doolittle, was reported by the war department Tuesday morning to have been killed in action.

The date or details of his death were not revealed in a communication received in a communication received by Corporal Faktor’s family in Plymouth. The wire said Faktor had been buried with military honors “somewhere in China.”

Corporal Faktor was one of 79 men, who, without knowing Japan was to be the objective, volunteered to join the raiding party led by General Doolittle in April.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Faktor, route 1, Corporal Faktor enlisted in the army Aug. 8, 1941. He was graduated from Plymouth high school with the class of 1939. He was unmarried.

No other member of the Faktor family is in the armed services. A younger brother is attending school in Plymouth and an older brother, married, helps operate the Faktor farm.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Tuesday, May 26, 1942

Cpl. Faktor was the engineer/gunner aboard the Whiskey Pete, flown by Lt. Robert M. Gray, the third of the Doolittle Raider planes to take off from the USS Hornet. Up until this time none of the B-25 pilots had ever taken off from a carrier before.

After successfully completing their mission over Tokyo, the raiders flew to the China coast. They, however, met with severe weather and their final hours were flown on gas fumes. Whiskey Pete’s crew, and all the other raider crews, were forced to bail out of the plane. Cpl. Faktor was killed when he landed and fell down a cliff, the only member of his crew that was lost.

Note by Sharon R. Becker, Dec. 2012

Plymouth Boy Who Participated In Raid “Was A Fine Boy”

PLYMOUTH, IOWA – Edward Cinkle, uncle of Corp. Leland D. Faktor, has received a letter from Brig. Gen James Doolittle in connection with Faktor’s recent death while in the service of his country. The Faktor family was notified Tuesday that Faktor had been killed in action and buried with military honors.

Corporal Faktor was one of 79 men who participated with General Doolittle in the air raid on Tokyo in April. General Doolittle praised Faktor for both his ability as a soldier and for his personal characteristics. “He was a fine boy,” the letter said.

Leland Faktor was born May 17, 1921 in Plymouth. He was graduated from Plymouth high school in 1940 and enlisted in the army air corps on August 8, 1940.

Surviving are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Faktor, a sister, Juanita, and two brothers, Leroy and Marvin, all of Plymouth. A grandmother, Mrs. Anna Cinkl, lived in Plymouth.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Wednesday, May 27, 1942

Flying Cross, Purple Heart Sent to Mr. and Mrs. Lou Faktor
For Son’s Bravery at Tokyo
Cpl. Leland Faktor Is Posthumously Cited and Decorated

Mr. and Mrs. Lou Faktor of Plymouth have received the purple heart and the distinguished flying cross, awarded posthumously to their son, Cpl. Leland D. Faktor, for extraordinary achievement in the daring raid on Tokyo with Jimmy Doolittle

Faktor, who is buried somewhere in China, left his home for the service in August 1940.

The following accompanied the purple heart decoration: “I have the honor to inform you that the Purple Heart decoration has been awarded, posthumously, to you son, Cpl. Leland D. Faktor, air corps, who made the supreme sacrifice in defense of his country.”

The citation for Distinguished Flying Cross read: “Leland D. Faktor, corporal, army air forces, United States Army, For extraordinary achievement while participating in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland on April 18, 1942. Corporal Faktor volunteered for this mission, knowing full well that the chances of survival were extremely remote, and executed his part in it with great skill and daring. This achievement reflects high credit on Corporal Faktor and the military service.”

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Monday, March 29, 1943

Note by Sharon R. Becker: Cpl. Faktor was interred at Wan Tsuen, China. In 1949, Cpl. Faktor’s body was brought home and re-interred at the Bohemian Cemetery, Plymouth, Iowa.