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Thread: Robert Louis Rizon

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    Default Robert Louis Rizon

    The a/n officer was originally a member of the RCAF (see award data below) but transferred to US forces. He became a Colonel (or higher) and was quite active in the 1940s and 1950s in search and rescue work, as well as serving as an Air Attache. I wish to access his RCAF file, but can do so only if he has been deceased for more than20 years (and I can prove it with an obituary or other evidence).

    Following a suggestion on "Twelve O'Clock High", I was able to reach his residence in San Diego. The person who answered was a Hispanic housekeeper or care giver who said that he had died several years ago (she was vague as to when, perhaps 15 years, perhaps more) and the widow was deep in Alzheimer's. They had no children, but the housekeeper knew of a nephew in the American mid-west. She took my number, promising to pass it on to the nephew who might (or might not) contact me. Roughly 14 hours later I have heard nothing.

    So the search for an obituary notice for Robert Louis Rizon continues, now narrowed to the San Diego area but vague as to date. Any further help would be appreciated, especially if anyone has special knowledge or familiarity with San Diego records.


    RIZON, F/O Robert Louis (C2846) - Air Force Cross - No.13 (Operational Training) Squadron, Patricia Bay - Award effective 11 June 1942 as per London Gazette dated 11 June 1942 and AFRO 1000-1001/42 dated 3 July 1942. American; home in Los Angeles, California; enlisted in Ottawa, 3 October 1940. Graduated from No.1 BGS, Jarvis, Ontario, 11 December 1940. As Flight Lieutenant, appointed to command "C" Flight of unit, 26 March 1942. Transferred to USAAF on 1 June 1942 and was reported as a Captain when award announced.

    "On 2 November 1941, while taking off in Stranraer 932 in Patricia Bay on an instructional flight, his port engine burst into flames. He stopped his take-off and had the fire extinguisher pulled. This did not have any appreciable effect on the fire. He ordered his crew to abandon the aircraft, which was done with the exception of one man who, in the excitement, could not find his life-saving jacket (which was still in the aircraft) and could not swim. Flying Officer Rizon and LAC Hunt then climbed back aboard. By this time the port upper and lower wings were afire. Flying Officer Rizon stood behind the port engine and under the main fuel tanks, which were wreathed in flames, and finally succeeded in putting the fire out with extinguishers and buckets of sea water. Flying Officer Rizon showed complete disregard of personal safety. His action saved the aircraft from complete destruction and also possible loss of life of some members of his crew."

    The diary of No.13 (Operational Training) Squadron has the following account of 2 November 1941:

    Stranraer 932, pilot F/O Rizon, second pilot P/O Mills, crew LAC Norridge, Hunt, and Young, caught fire port engine on take-off run. All occupants abandoned aircraft after unsuccessful efforts to extinguish fire with aircraft extinguishers. F/O Rizon and LAC Hunt later climbed back aboard and extinguished fire after both port mainplanes were burned.

    The diary entry for 10 June 1942 read, in part:

    F/L R. Rizon, at present Captain in U.S. Army Air Force, and LAC Hunt have been awarded the AFC and AFM respectively for devotion to duty in fighting fire aboard the Stranraer after it had been landed with the wings aflame.

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    California Death Index

    Name: Robert Lewis Rizon
    Social Security #: 561129093
    Sex: Male
    Birth Date: 5 Aug 1912
    Birthplace: Pennsylvania
    Death Date: 7 Aug 1989
    Death Place: San Diego
    Mother's Maiden Name: Johnson

    Married in Florida perhaps in 1952, again spelled as Lewis
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 3rd June 2011 at 12:50.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hot dog and thank you !

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    I can follow some of his tracks in life. Could be, he has or had a son.

    Links to small on-line movie clips:

    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675042029_Air-Search_Colonel-Robert-Rizon_flight-plans_Rescue-group_Nice-Airport

    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675042925_United-States-H-19-helicopter_affected-personnel_Colonel-Rizon_lifts-off

    Other links:

    http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbaat.asp?theAT=sa-16&Submit3=Go

    http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses/available/etd-08072009-31295009680702/unrestricted/31295009680702.pdf

    Link to Newspaper Archive between 1935 - 1990 Robert (L) (Lewis) Rizon:

    http://news.google.com/archivesearch?as_q=&num=100&hl=en&btnG=Search+Arch ives&as_epq=Robert++Rizon&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_user_ld ate=1935&as_user_hdate=1990&lr=&as_src=&as_price=p 0&as_scoring=a

    http://news.google.com/archivesearch?as_q=&num=100&hl=en&btnG=Search+Arch ives&as_epq=Robert+L+Rizon&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_user_l date=1935&as_user_hdate=1990&lr=&as_src=&as_price= p0&as_scoring=a

    http://news.google.com/archivesearch?as_q=&num=100&hl=en&btnG=Search+Arch ives&as_epq=Robert+Lewis++Rizon&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_u ser_ldate=1935&as_user_hdate=1990&lr=&as_src=&as_p rice=p0&as_scoring=a


    (Marriage Announcement, son, Los Angeles Times, Aug 16, 1973).

    ------------

    Death of son?

    http://www.usafocs62a.net/deceased.htm

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Rizon&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all& GSob=n&GRid=3747145&df=all&

    -----------

    I do not want to mention a name here, so please take a look.

    Regards

    Finn Buch
    Last edited by Argus; 4th June 2011 at 19:47.

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    Thanks to help on this forum and TOH I can now post the following expanded details from his RCAF file:

    RIZON, F/O Robert Louis (C2846) - Air Force Cross - No.13 (Operational Training) Squadron, Patricia Bay - Award effective 11 June 1942 as per London Gazette dated 11 June 1942 and AFRO 1000-1001/42 dated 3 July 1942. American; born 5 August 1912 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Home on enlistment given as Monrovia, California. Learned to fly in 1927, instructed by Arthur Callies, Callies Flyers Incorporated, on JN-4 aircraft (OX-5 and Hispano engines). Served with U.S. Army Air Corps, 1928-1931 as Air Mechanic, First Class; service included time at March Field, Rockwell Field, San Diego and instructional work at Nichols Field, Rizal, in the Philippines, 1929-1931 ; Corporal in National Guard of California, 1933-1936. Employed by Safeway Stores, Los Angeles, 1934-1937 and Doleshal Brothers Store, Pasadena, 1937-1940 (Market Manager). He further claimed some 280 hours of flying, 1924-1928 (instruction), 300 hours with U.S. Army Air Corps, 1928-1931 (dual with commercial and command pilots) and some 600 hours in Los Angeles, 1931-1940 (“pleasure and practice.”). Enlisted in Ottawa, 3 October 1940, being granted rank of Pilot Officer and Temporary Flying Officer from that date. To No.1 Manning Depot, Toronto that date. To Station Trenton, 25 October 1940 for course at Central Flying School. Posted to No.1 BGS, Jarvis, Ontario, 14 November 1940; awarded RCAF pilot’s flying badge, 11 December 1940. To No.3 BGS, Macdonald, Manitoba, 10 March 1941. To Station Patricia Bay, 28 March 1941. Posted from Headquarters Squadron, Patricia Bay to No.13 (Operational Training Squadron), Patricia Bay, 17 September 1941. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 20 December 1941; appointed to command “C” Flight of unit, 26 March 1942. Transferred to USAAF on 1 June 1942 and was reported as a Captain when award announced. Subsequently rose to Colonel and was noted for postwar search and rescue work. Died in San Diego, California, 7 August 1989.

    On 2 November 1941, while taking off in Stranraer 932 in Patricia Bay on an instructional flight, his port engine burst into flames. He stopped his take-off and had the fire extinguisher pulled. This did not have any appreciable effect on the fire. He ordered his crew to abandon the aircraft, which was done with the exception of one man who, in the excitement, could not find his life-saving jacket (which was still in the aircraft) and could not swim. Flying Officer Rizon and LAC Hunt then climbed back aboard. By this time the port upper and lower wings were afire. Flying Officer Rizon stood behind the port engine and under the main fuel tanks, which were wreathed in flames, and finally succeeded in putting the fire out with extinguishers and buckets of sea water. Flying Officer Rizon showed complete disregard of personal safety. His action saved the aircraft from complete destruction and also possible loss of life of some members of his crew.

    The recommendation for this award was raised by Squadron Leader Z.L. Leigh, Commanding Officer of No.13 (Operational Training) Squadron. The Wing Commander who commanded Station Patricia Bay (John Plant) approved the submission on 19 November 1940. The original submission was worded exactly as above.

    The diary of No.13 (Operational Training) Squadron has the following account of 2 November 1941:

    Stranraer 932, pilot F/O Rizon, second pilot P/O Mills, crew LAC Norridge, Hunt, and Young, caught fire port engine on take-off run. All occupants abandoned aircraft after unsuccessful efforts to extinguish fire with aircraft extinguishers. F/O Rizon and LAC Hunt later climbed back aboard and extinguished fire after both port mainplanes were burned.

    The diary entry for 10 June 1942 read, in part:

    F/L R. Rizon, at present Captain in U.S. Army Air Force, and LAC Hunt have been awarded the AFC and AFM respectively for devotion to duty in fighting fire aboard the Stranraer after it had been landed with the wings aflame.

    Accident Report: A copy of a brief report on his file gives the following particulars: 2 November 1941, 0830 hours, Stranraer 932, Patricia Bay - Instructional Duty - “Fire originating in port engine; upper and lower main plane destroyed; port engine damaged.” Crew list is a bad carbon copy but looks like the following: F/O R.L. Rizon (C2846) uninjured; P/O A.B. Mills (J6904); R50623 LAC Norriboe. A.A.; R59255 LAC Hunt, W.J.; R50565 LAC Young, J.A.I., all uninjured.”

    Notes: A document dated 22 September 1940 indicated he had taken a Flight Check for the Clayton Knight Committee at Hollywood, California. It listed him as having flown 200 hours in “Class One” aircraft, 544 hours in “Class Two” aircraft and 50 hours in “Class Three” aircraft.

    On 10 July 1941 he wrote to the Officer Commanding, Patricia Bay, requesting transfer from the Target Towing Flight of the station to No.13 (OT) Squadron. Letter said in part:

    On my arrival at this station, Wing Commander Wray decided that, because of my previous experience, I would be of most use in an instructing capacity with No.13 (OT) Squadron. However, as I was the only pilot available at that time who was experienced in Drogue work on the Fairey Battle, I was temporarily placed in the Target Towing Flight until such time as a suitable pilot could be obtained to take over this work.

    The situation has changed since that time, in that there are now other officers competent to carry on this work in the Target Towing Flight.

    I am very anxious to serve the country to the best of my ability and feel that I would now be of more benefit to the service were I employed in a more active capacity, where my previous experience would be of use in helping with the intensive training program being carried out in No.13 (OT) Squadron.

    Action on this was delayed owing to concerns that target towing might expand, but on 11 September 1941 the Commanding Officer of No.13 (OT) Squadron requested his transfer to that unit.

    Qualified as first pilot (day) on Grumman Goose (land and water) as of 24 June 1941 as per F/L P.B. Cox, Headquarters Flight, Patricia Bay (letter dated 11 July 1941).

    A statement of his flying to 7 January 1942 indicated that as of that date he had flown as follows:

    Light commercial types (single engine): 11.30 day dual, 685 day solo, 2.30 night dual, 15.20 night solo.

    Medium commercial types (single engine): 7.15 day dual, 550 day solo, 1.30 night dual, 10.15 night solo.

    Service types - Fleet (30 minutes day dual, 7.15 day solo); Moth (30 minutes day dual, 4.10 day solo); Yale (1.30 day dual, 6.00 day solo); Harvard (2.15 day dual, 6.30 day solo), Battle (30 minutes day dual, 158.00 day solo); Stinson (15 days dual, 5.30 day solo); Delta (25 minutes day dual, 8.30 day solo); Norseman (3.35 day dual, 70.20 day solo), Grumman (1.30 day dual; 112.45 day solo); Lockheed 10 (2.40 day dual, 39.00 day solo); Hudson (2.00 day dual, 51.30 day solo, 2.45 night dual) and Stranraer (2.10 day dual, 128.15 day solo, 1.30 night dual, 2.45 night solo).

    Assessments: “Above average pilot. Keen, sound and reliable. A good officer.” (G/C G.E. Wait, No.1 BGS, 11 March 1941).

    “Smart appearing officer. Employed also as relief pilot for transportation. Shortly should be well qualified to fill a position as Flight Commander.” (W/C J.L. Plant, Patricia Bay, 10 June 1941, noting that he was then Staff Pilot, Target Towing Flight.)

    “This officer has shown himself to be an above average pilot and flying instructor. He is very keen and is willing to work hard. His appearance is neat; he is well mannered and of good address. In addition to carrying out the duties of flying instructor, he is also acting as Squadron Armament Officer, which position he is filling satisfactorily. He required more administrative and drill experience. This is being taken care of gradually by the squadron.” (S/L Z.L. Leigh, Commanding Officer, No.13 Operational Training Squadron, 11 November 1941).

    “This officer is carrying out the duties of flying instructor and squadron armament officer. He is a good, level headed pilot on both land and water. He supervises the armament section efficiently. Well educated and aggressive. Recommended for accelerated promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant.” (S/L Z.L. Leigh again, 15 December 1941, to which W/C .L. Plant adds, “An excellent type of officer. Smart in appearance, very loyal, a level headed pilot and good disciplinarian. Will make an excellent flight commander. Recommendation for accelerated promotion concurred in.”

    It was evident that he initiated his transfer to the American forces, and that RCAF personnel tried unsuccessfully to dissuade him.

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