Class 44-D-SE 4/15/1944 Flt. Officer T62814 Mars, PA
DOB unknown – October 7, 1944
Unit: 100th Fighter Squadron with the 332nd Fighter Group
Pilot roster listing
Woods of Mars, PA., graduated from flight training on April 15, 1944, at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. He soon deployed to Italy with the 100th Fighter Squadron, part of the 332nd Fighter Group.
Flight Officer Carl J. Woods was last seen during a cloudy mission to Austria when he was reported missing and ultimately declared dead on October 7, 1944. Recorded circumstances attributed to: “Non Hostile, Missing in action body not recovered, Air Crash”. Incident location: Adriatic Sea. The 332nd Fighter Group escorted bombers from the 5th Bombardment Wing to an oil refinery in Vienna, Austria. On the way, to the target area, three P-51 Mustang pilots disappeared.
“I was flying between layers of overcast,” 1st Lt. Spurgeon N. Ellington wrote in a military report. “Flight Officer Woods was flying my wing. I gave the signal for more power to pull up over the overcast and the number three man shot under me. At this instant my motor cut out as I pulled up to keep from running over the number three man, causing me to flip into a spin in the overcast. This is the last I saw of Flight Officer Woods.” (When he last was seen alive, Flight Officer Woods was 19.)
About 20 minutes later, 2nd Lt. Roosevelt Stiger crashed into the Adriatic Sea after reporting mechanical trouble. Lt. Robert H. Wiggins was forced to crash-land after his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire.
When he last was seen alive, Flight Officer Woods was 19. His name is included on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial Florence, Città Metropolitana di Firenze, Toscana. According to a government database, he was awarded an Air Medal and Purple Heart for his military service.
His is one of four life-sized images featured at the Senator John Heinz History Center traveling exhibit “We Can Do It! WWII.” For more information about the traveling exhibit, visit www.heinzhistorycenter.org/we-can-do-it-wwii-traveling-exhibit.
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.