Mitchell County

Lt. Cletus T. Ormsby

Photo-Memorial Tombstone, Sacred Heart Cemetery, Osage, Iowa



Cletus Ormsby Given Promotion for Valor

A Ninth Air Force Nightfighter Base, France — Cletus T. Ormsby, Osage, Iowa, nightfighter pilot who shot down three Nazi bombers over the Bastogne, Belgium pocket was promoted recently to first lieutenant. The announcement came from ninth air force headquarters in France.

On nocturnal interception prowls over the Ardennes break-through sector—when the German push toward Liege was at its peak — Lt. Ormsby destroyed a Dornier 217, a Junkers 88, and a Messerschmidt 110. In addition to these he claimed another Junkers 88 as damaged. These aircraft, all twin-engine bombers, were heading for the isolated Bastogne pocket to pound embattled Americans of an airborne division when intercepted by the young Iowan. He scored his first kill at 1 o'clock a.m., Christmas day, and his last at 10 minutes before midnight, New Year's eve.

Lt. Ormsby, a graduate of Iowa State college, is a member of the 19th tactical air command P-61 Black Widow nightfighter squadron commanded by Maj. Leon G. Lewis, Norfolk, Va. He has completed over 40 controlled interception and strafing sorties under cover of darkness in co-ordinated air activity with American third army troops. Taking wing when darkness descends and dayfighters rest, he has helped his squadron carry the attack to the enemy unceasingly.

Flying from sundown to sunrise, they have destroyed countless locomotives and motor convoys. They have razed and fired factories, ammunition depots, troop concentrations and communications centers on sweeps into the reich.

Lt. Ormsby is the son of Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Ormsby, Osage. He holds the air medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters.

Source: Mason City Globe Gazette, Feb. 16, 1945

Lt. Cletus T. Ormsby Was in "Black Widow"

OSAGE, IOWA - Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Ormsby received a message from the war department stating that their son, Lt. Cletus T. Ormsby, is missing in action over Germany since March 27.

Lt. Cletus Ormsby is a pilot of a Black Widow, doing night flying. He received his wings at Williams Field, Arizona, in August, 1943, and has been over seas several months.
Another message earlier in the week informed the Ormsby's of the death of their son, Pfc. Virgil Ormsby, who was killed on Luzon.

Source: Mason City Globe Gazette, April 7, 1945


OSAGE, IOWA - Memorial services for two brothers, Pfc. Virgil A. and Lt. Cletus Ormsby, sons of Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Ormsby of Osage will be held Tuesday Morning at the Sacred Heart Church. Rev. Fr. R. A. Ormsby of Belmond, uncle of the deceased servicemen, will read the mass.

Virgil was killed in action near Bomban, Luzon Island, Philippines, Feb. 24, 1945. He was serving with Co. E, 160th infantry, 40th division, and had been in service since June 20, 1941. He was overseas two and a half years, serving in Hawaii, New Britain and the Philippines. He had received the Good conduct and Expert Infantryman medals and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

Virgil was born near Britt, on August 3, 1919 and moved to Little Cedar with the family in 1929.

Lt. Cletus Ormsby, a Black Widow fighter pilot, was killed in action over Germany March 27, 1945. Shortly after that he was reported missing and it was not until May 23 that his parents received the word that he had been killed.

Information concerning his last flight from his radio operator, David Howerton, Jr., of Ashland, Kentucky, says the plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and one of the shells exploded in the plane. The radio operator parachuted to safety but on enemy territory, with both legs broken. He was in a German hospital for two days before American troops captured the town.

Cletus was born at Mason City, May 23, 1924, and was graduated from Little Cedar high school. Surviving, besides his parents, is one brother, Everett, who is a reservist in the U.S. engineers in Hawaii. He is home now on furlough.

Source: Waterloo Courier - May 27, 1945