Eliel Archilla, 405th Fighter Squadron, has Flown West

From the P-47 Thunderbolt Community Page in Facebook, news was posted on 2 June 2015 about the passing of 371st Fighter Group/405th Fighter Squadron pilot Lt Col Eliel “Arch” Archilla, at 92 years of age.

Eliel "Arch" Archilla in a wartime photo.  He flew in the 405th Fighter Squadron of the 371 st Fighter Group.  (Courtesy P-47 Thunderbolt Community Page in Facebook)

Eliel “Arch” Archilla in a wartime photo. He flew in the 405th Fighter Squadron of the 371 st Fighter Group. (Courtesy P-47 Thunderbolt Community Page in Facebook)

Source: https://www.facebook.com/p47jug

Artist Billy Tucci, who awesome artwork told the story of the “Lost Battalion of World War II in a DC Comics SGT Rock series, befriended Archilla during the project:

“During Tucci’s run on his DC Comics project Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion, he interviewed and befriend many of the real life heroes of the events he depicted in the story. One of those veterans was Lt. Col. Eliel “Arch” Archilla of the 405th Fighter squadron.

“During the battle for the Lost Battalion in October 1944, Colonel Archilla was a 19-year-old junior officer and one of only eight Allied pilots allowed to fly that week. Due to the un-flyable weather, they all volunteered for what turned out to be a potential suicide mission, but one that was crucial to the Lost Battalion’s survival. They saved so many of the infantrymen on their repeated re-supply and ground support missions that week,” Tucci said.”

On 18-19 July 2008, Archilla participated in a symposium discussing the Lost Battalion saga, at the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin. French patriots kindly donated genuine historical artifacts in conjunction with the event, some of the belly tanks found in the forest at the battle site that were used to transport vital supplies to the surrounded American troops air delivered by Archilla and other pilots in the 405th Fighter Squadron.

Members of the 2008 Lost Battalion Symposium are, from left to right, Franz Steidl, Yeiichi Kelly Kuwayama, LTC Eliel "Arch" Archilla, and Lt. Erwin Blonder.  (Courtesy Japanese American Veterans Association)

Members of the 2008 Lost Battalion Symposium are, from left to right, Franz Steidl, Yeiichi Kelly Kuwayama, LTC Eliel “Arch” Archilla, and Lt. Erwin Blonder. (Courtesy Japanese American Veterans Association)

This web log remembered the epic series of mission he participated in last year, in a 2014 posting commemorating the 70th anniversary of the missions:
https://371stfightergroup.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/like-something-you-would-see-in-the-movies-371st-fighter-group-air-drops-for-the-lost-battalion/

On Lt Col Archilla’s departure westward, we render respectfully render a hand salute, and thank him for his service to our nation!  Contribute to and/or read the guestbook in his remembrance at:
http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Eliel-Archilla&lc=2357&pid=174993677&mid=6467993
References

“Revisiting Billy Tucci’s A Child Is Born,” at: http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com/Home/4/1/73/1017?articleID=126054

“EXTRAORDINARY REUNION OF WWII VETERANS OF THE 36TH (TEXAS) DIVISION, 405TH FIGHTER SQUADRON AND 442ND RCT AND THE FRENCH OF THE VOSGES MOUNTAINS,” on the Japanese American Veterans Association page, at: http://javadc.org/Press%20release%2008-24-08%20Lost%20Bn%20Symposium.htm

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