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308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher

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AlanStarcher
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2011/02/02 16:10:16 (permalink)
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308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher

I've been web-searching for a couple of weeks, looking for more information on my uncle and his B-24J.

I have MACR 5348, referencing a "routine" flight from Lingling (Luliang?) Airbase on the late afternoon of May 28, 1944, departing during conditions "overcast with thunderstorms." 1st Lt. Kenneth S. Starcher and his crew of 9 were lost somewhere on the short flight to Kweilin; the report lists the cause of the loss as "unknown."  My uncle and the crew are all listed KNB (died non-combat mission). 
 
Family word-of-mouth history refers to his plane as the "Sweater Girl" or "Sweater Gal."  I've located pictures of similar-named aircraft on the B-24 Web but none check out as his aircraft.  I'm not sure if any family members had photographs from the period or if any existed. 
 
Family history also tells of Uncle Kay crashing another B-24 perhaps a month or two before his fatal crash, being reported missing for several days before returning to duty.  Uncle Kay was said to have been an accomplished Hump pilot, with many missions to his credit --- although I understand that the 308th had to run its own supply routes, so that would not be unusual.  (Another more humorous word-of-mouth tale tells of Uncle Kay being "busted down" after getting caught flying his Liberator under the Golden Gate Bridge!) 

I requested a copy of the Aircraft Crash Report (Form 14) but was advised that if a MACR was written, then there would be no ACR. Again, family history tells that the plane went down shortly after take-off but the crash site was in enemy-held territory, and recovery could not be undertaken until US forces had regained control of the area.  I located another source that lists my uncle's status as KCR (killed in crash) and am working on obtaining that record.

I would appreciate anyone sharing more information on the aircraft, its missions and its loss. Especially looking for photos of the aircraft, wondering if it might be in the background of someone else's shots of bombers in the same squadron.  I posted in the B24 - PB4Y web board, also.

-- Alan D. Starcher, Jacksonville, FL

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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/02/02 22:57:59 (permalink)
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Alan!
Aircraft #42-73309 is listed with the nose art name "Trouble Maker" in "China Up and Down" by Maj. John T. Foster on page 155.  He notes "Flown by Lt. Starcher on May 27 sea sweep and landing at Lingling, takes off next day to 'fly under overcast' and crashes May 28 [MIA 5/28/44 per JRB]."  JRB refers to J.R. Breitling who, according to Maj. Foster, "identified the fate of nearly all of the 19,000 B-24s produced in WWII." I haven't found any reference material or book by J.R. Breitling, but I have located a book on B-24s of the 15th AF co-authored by a J.R. Beitling.  No help, though.
Foster also cites Lt. Starcher on page 183: 
"Mission 122 - Bad weather at Lungling (sic) after sea sweep by Burk and Starcher but crews land safely.  Next day, however, Starcher flying B-24 No. 42-73309 ("Trouble Maker") tries going home under overcast and hits mountain (all KIA)."
I checked my copy of "The Aluminum Trail" by Chick Marrs Quinn for an aircraft loss for that date or aircraft, but found none.
There is a listing of aircraft accident reports at:  http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/AFrptsMO.htm
It contains an entry on 05/28/1944 for a B-24J #42-73309, 14 AF 308BG 373BS piloted by Kenneth S. Starcher, killed in crash in China.
Note:  Aircraft 42-73309 is a B-24 J model.  The photos of Trouble Maker on the B24BestWeb website is of an earlier B-24D model ascribed to the 375th BS.
 
Good luck on your quest.
 
Jack Gross
son of S/Sgt Herbert Gross, 375BS, engineer/gunner on B-24 Vitamin-P II 42-73243 , turning 94 in 29 days! 
 
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/02/06 10:13:26 (permalink)
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Jack, thanks so much for your reply, and please give my regards to your father (and our thanks for his service as well).  The Internet never ceases to amaze -- I figured if anyone would have the information I was looking for, it would be the experts here and on the B-24 Web.  Still, to learn the details in reading your reply, nearly sent chills up my spine!
 
First obvious question:  did your father know of the B-24D "Trouble Maker" pictured on the B-24 web?  (I know it's not definite that the plane flew with the 375th, but anyway ...) 
http://www.b24bestweb.com/troublemaker-v3-2.htm
 
Do you know of any collections of 373rd nose art, perhaps by Adam Dintenfass?
 
I'm wondering about a few scenarios.
As I had mentioned, family history tells of Uncle Kay crashing another aircraft some time before his fatal crash in 42-73309.  I've scanned the AARs and found the one referencing the fatal crash, but so far no luck in finding a previous crash report, possibly a B-24D.  I've noted that the accident records for crashes in China gets rather thin as you proceed back into the 1944 and 1943 records previous to May '44.  Perhaps this is why there is no record of that "first" crash.
OTOH I'm sure that pilots received replacements for their D models as the J's became more available, or if the aircraft had been destroyed in a bombing attack or ground accident -- which leads me to think that the B-24D "Trouble Maker" pictured just might have been my uncle's plane previous to 42-73309, the J.  Further, one of those smiling pilots pointing to the nose art, sure looks like ... well, me!  Strong family resemblance.  I'm trying to locate a picture of Uncle Kay -- you'd think one of the family would have one, but so far ...
 
My father, Sammy Max, was the youngest of the six Starcher brothers from Lewis County, West Virginia;  he was an Army dentist inducted upon his graduation from dental school in 1943 and passed away from Lou Gehrig's Disease in 1989.  I know that another uncle, Hugh, had worked as a technician in the USAAF in WWII; my father used to have his old Army toolbox with the name, rank and US logo painted on the lid.   In 2009 we lost the last surviving brother, 99-year-old Aubrey, who lived here in Florida since the 1930s and once had a job painting US Navy ships at Fort Pierce during the war.
 
I've ordered the May 1944 AAR (a short 3-page follow-up to the MACR), and another accident report -- seems that Uncle Kay set a PT-22 trainer on her nose back when he was an air cadet in 1942!
 
Thanks again, Jack -- I look forward to any more tidbits that turn up.  I'll keep you posted, as well. 
 
-- Alan
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/02/09 22:43:52 (permalink)
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While I'm awaiting Jack's reply, I found some more info to share:  I received a reply from one of the experts on the B-24 Web, "JimBob" -- 
 
In the book "Chennault's Forgotten Warriors" by Glines, it mentions your uncle and his 9 man crew as killed on takeoff as they departed Lingling in bad weather.  The book indicated this happened on May 27, 1944.

 
I'm still stymied by the pictures of "Trouble Maker" and can't seem to put together enough info to clear that hurdle -- yet.  Accident reports are on the way.
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/03/06 12:33:38 (permalink)
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I located this blurb during my continuing search -- an obituary from the Shinnston (WV) News:
 
"Mrs. Kenneth S. Starcher of Weston, received a telegram June 6, from the War
Department, telling her of the death of her husband, Lt. Kenneth S. Starcher, 29, when his plane crashed over China on May 28.  Lieutenant Starcher was reported missing in that theater of operations in January, but later was found in the jungle, suffering from injuries sustained when he parachuted to earth and his chute became tangled in a tree. " (emphasis added)
 
So the recollection of family history was accurate -- now I'm trying to find out more about that previous crash.  I'm starting to believe that the pictures of the B-24D "Trouble Maker" might have been my uncle's first B-24.
 
-- Alan
 
 
 
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/02 19:23:53 (permalink)
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Mr. Starcher, 
    I have recently begun a research for my uncles plane that also crashed 5/28/44. His name is William R. Verzole  His obit. says that he was a gunner on the ship which crashed 50 miles southwest of Lingling after taking off from an advanced base. The entire crew was killed.  A navigator, Lt. John E. Haver was also on board and mentioned in the obit.  My mothers family has no other information.  She has however a photo(which is also posted on B24website of FLUB DUB, a B24D.  The family thought this was the bomber he was on but my research so far shows that FLUB DUB was part of the 19th mission of 9/15/43 in which Ruie W. Suggs Jr. piloted. It did not return.  The pilot for FLUB DUB in the photo is 1Lt. Robert M. King and  I found his name as part of one of the crash sites found by Clayton Kuhles.  This brings me to you and all that you have posted
so far about your uncle.  I know Glines book says May 27 but the AAIR says the 28th.  Thank you for your time.  Dawn
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/02 22:47:05 (permalink)
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dawn

Mr. Starcher, 
   I have recently begun a research for my uncles plane that also crashed 5/28/44. His name is William R. Verzole  His obit. says that he was a gunner on the ship which crashed 50 miles southwest of Lingling after taking off from an advanced base. The entire crew was killed.  A navigator, Lt. John E. Haver was also on board and mentioned in the obit.  My mothers family has no other information.  She has however a photo(which is also posted on B24website of FLUB DUB, a B24D.  The family thought this was the bomber he was on but my research so far shows that FLUB DUB was part of the 19th mission of 9/15/43 in which Ruie W. Suggs Jr. piloted. It did not return.  The pilot for FLUB DUB in the photo is 1Lt. Robert M. King and  I found his name as part of one of the crash sites found by Clayton Kuhles.  This brings me to you and all that you have posted
so far about your uncle.  I know Glines book says May 27 but the AAIR says the 28th.  Thank you for your time.  Dawn

Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 5348 indicates S/Sgt Verzole was on board 42-73309, piloted by 1Lt. Starcher, when it crashed on 05/28/44.

Attached Image(s)


Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/03 16:44:31 (permalink)
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MSgt. Strotman,
           THANK-YOU!!!  My mother thanks you.  She was 12 years old (her birthday) on 5/28/44,
           the day of the tragic news.  She had 4 other brothers serving overseas at that time too.  She
           will be 80 next month and finally has closure.  I thank you again for your time and effort. 
           Dawn
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/06 07:40:25 (permalink)
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Dawn, sorry to be late to the party -- glad that you found your info.  I also have the MACR that Tony posted; he beat me to it as I'm going to post it and other p/w to my Photobucket account. 
 
Amazing, isn't it?
 
I'll be in touch.
 
Alan
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/06 12:12:40 (permalink)
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Alan, so glad to hear from you!  I am new to all of the internet/forum procedures etc.  I have a few photos to post when I
learn how to attach them.  Looking forward to continued research.
 I'm actively searching  for the various books written, currently
reading The Hump... by Spencer to educate myself more- very interesting.  Thanks again Alan.
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/06 18:20:43 (permalink)
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dawn She has however a photo(which is also posted on B24website of FLUB DUB, a B24D.  The family thought this was the bomber he was on but my research so far shows that FLUB DUB was part of the 19th mission of 9/15/43 in which Ruie W. Suggs Jr. piloted. It did not return.  The pilot for FLUB DUB in the photo is 1Lt. Robert M. King and  I found his name as part of one of the crash sites found by Clayton Kuhles.

 
Dawn, I checked that photo on B-24 Best Web -- it lists the plane as belonging to the 373rd Bomb Squadron, which is where our uncles served.  The caption under the photo also lists SSgt Verzole as "armorer - gunner."  So it would seem that he flew on this ship before joining my uncle's crew on the later model J, "Trouble Maker."  I'm still trying to piece together the mystery of my uncle's first B-24 -- it may or may not be the D-model pictured on the Best Web.  Your info puts me perhaps a step closer.

According to Glines' book, pilot Robert M. King was lost when his B-24 (assuming it was a J-model) disappeared on May 25, 1944, on a routine flight to Chabua, India (the crash referenced by Kuhles, when the wreckage was discovered years later).  So he also flew a different plane than "Flub Dub" after that D-model was lost.  Doesn't it seem that even their "routine" flights, were anything but!  Extremely hazardous duty.
 
I'm anxiously awaiting your pictures, when you can post! 
 
-- Alan
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/06 19:22:08 (permalink)
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Alan, it was a B-24J;
 
– 13 May 1944; MACR 5292,B-24J, 42-100184;
373rd Bombardment Squadron, 308th Bombardment Group
 
Aircraft was on re-supply mission between Yangkai, China and Chabua, India. Last reported position was thirty minutes east of Chabua, then it disappeared without any indication of where, when or how.  All crew and passengers (9) were late declared KIA. Capt. Thomas was Chaplin for the 22nd Bombardment Squadron / 341st Bombardment Group.
 
All crew and passengers were later declared KIA although they remain missing. The crew members are  
 
Pilot                                        1Lt. Robert W. King,
Copilot                                    2Lt. John B. Byron,
Navigator                                1Lt. Eugene L. Bernstein,
Engineer-Gunner                      T/Sgt Robert R. Riley,
Radio-Gunner                           T/Sgt John J. Reagan,
Gunner                                     S/Sgt. Garland J. Reed,
Passenger                                  Capt. Thomas H Clare
Passenger                                  S/Sgt. Raymond J. Bridge,
Passenger                                  Cpl. Merle L. Pickup,
 
Capt. Thomas Claire was Chaplin of the 22nd BS, 341st BG. He was going to India to acquire various morale items he believed were needed to aid men disheartened by recent surge in casualties, especially among 'old timers' on their last mission.
 
Per your comment on "routine" missions -- If for no other reason than the mountainous terrain along most of the route, aircraft operations between India and China were always hazardous, especially so when you add in the weather; monsoon season at the time of this loss.
 
Particularly saddening was the loss of men who had fulfilled their requirements for "in theater" or "combat hours" and were on their way "HOME."  The 341st Bomb Group had 92 killed while en route back to the USA, almost 25% of their combat casualties of 471.

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/17 11:16:04 (permalink)
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Tony, thanks for the additional information.  The more that I learn, the more that I am in awe of these young men and their grim daily reality.
 
I picked up a copy of the book, "B-24 Liberator Units of the CBI" -- Edward Young.  Excellent source of information, terrific aircraft side-view paintings by forum member Mark Styling.  The information panels of the aircraft that are pictured in the center section, are priceless -- where did the author source such details?
 
The plot thickens: the book also mentions my uncle's final mission and fatal crash, although not naming the pilot or aircraft.  The interesting part is that Young calls the aircraft a "snooper" SB-24, one of the first group of 20 Low Altitude Bombers that arrived in China in May 1944 to be divided amongst the 308th's four squadrons.  After describing the fatal May 28 crash following the unsuccessful sea sweep the night before, Young concludes that "Two LAB crews had been lost in three days of operations."
 
I found MACR 5346 referencing the loss of the first SB-24 on the night of May 26, no. 42-100040 (named "Pokey" per Forman's Nose Art book).  In the MACR, it specifically lists the aircraft as a "B-24 J L.A.B.", states the mission as a "sea sweep" and lists a radar operator position among the crew.  In MACR 5348 (that Tony posted earlier in the thread) referencing the crash of 42-73309, there is no mention of L.A.B. and no position is designated for a radar operator, although Uncle Kay was said to have participated in a two-plane "sea sweep" on his final mission of May 27 by two references (Young and Breitling).
 
I also obtained a copy of "The B-24 in China" by A.B.Feuer.  At first I though that the book would not be useful, since it revolves around the personal log and experiences of a 375th BS member who flew an L.A.B., but he arrived in theatre after my uncle had perished (he was part of the second group of specially-trained L.A.B. crews assigned to the 14th AF).  After reading Young's book, I went back to this one to learn more about the L.A.B. crew training and missions.
 
I'm still not certain -- the 308th began the "sea sweep" tactics in January 1944 without radar-equipped planes. In Young's book, he outlines the early radar-equipped "sniffer" aircraft that the 308th began using on sea sweeps in March 1944: the sniffers "would often go out in pairs, or as part of pair with a standard J-model."  It would make sense that this practice could have continued as the later, better-equipped "snooper" aircraft were brought into service.
 
More idle speculation -- in Feuer's book, pilot Bud Haynes describes the extraordinary secrecy surrounding the LAB project at Langley;  he tells of a secret meeting in late January '44 to choose the crews to be assigned to the 90-day intensive LAB training program:  "The aircraft to be used in the project would be the latest model Liberator -- the B-24J. ... The men chosen for this mission would be the best pilots, bombardiers, navigators and enlisted personnel that could be assembled. We would fly our own planes with hand-picked crews of ten men each." 
 
Perhaps Uncle Kay didn't parachute from an aircraft and get lost in the jungle in January 1944?  Perhaps that was the "cover story" used for his assignment to Langley and the L.A.B. program?  Perhaps the L.A.B. isn't mentioned in his MACR as the crew was not on a "combat mission" when they crashed?
 
Anyone care to add their thoughts?
 
-- Alan
 
 
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/17 20:38:57 (permalink)
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Alan,
 
I hope to head you away from your self-defined 'speculations' and toward more hard data. All of your references are valid and I believe each is quite accurate, still each has some room for error, depending on their sources of information and when that was gathered.  Even the actual records on file in National Archives and/or Air Force Historical Research Archive can have contradicting information.
 
I suggest you consider ordering the CD-Rom(s) containing 308th Operational History covering Period 1 Jan - 30 May 1944.  Then you can conduct your own research on who, where, when. These will have PDF files containing images taken from the microfilm rolls and can be purchased from AFHRA. You may have to first research which microfilm "Reel Number(s)" apply, or they may not require the level of specificity. (I do not know the web page for searching for the unit data on file. Sorry)
 
That being said...
 
The B-24s of the 308th, as well as the B-25s of the 341st, were performing sea sweeps throughout 1944. I am reasonably certain that prior to arrival of the LABs the majority, maybe all, of the 308th planes did so without benefit of radar assist. The B-25s had none until Nov 44, and when only 5 of the 'H' models were equipped with a cannon aiming-assist radar.  Dad went on four or five "moonlight assisted" sea and river sweeps in B-25H, as well as several daylight sweeps between May 44 and Jun 45, never with the radar assist. 
 
I must presume your last "speculation" was tongue-in-cheek, as I believe records will show Lt. Starcher was busy flying re-supply and combat missions from Jan thru May 1944.

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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Re:308BG/373BS B-24J S/N 42-73309 pilot Starcher 2011/04/17 20:39:45 (permalink)
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I received the Individual Aircraft Record Card for B-24 J, S/N  42-73309: 
  (edit -- discussion in another thread)
post edited by AlanStarcher - 2011/05/15 20:39:17
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More research results 2011/06/19 10:26:11 (permalink)
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Dawn posted her photo collection of her uncle's wartime pictures in the Members Photo Gallery.  If anyone has more information that they can share after viewing them, we would both appreciate it.  The crew photo where four airmen are wearing flight jackets with "Trouble Maker" rendered in script, is the most interesting and mysterious, as her uncle did not note the names on the back.  I'm nearly certain that my uncle is the airman on the far right.  I posted pictures of my father in his WWII uniform for comparison purposes, on my Photobucket account.  I'm currently awaiting a photo of Uncle Kay from his obituary printed in a local newspaper -- the source document is held in the West Virginia State Archives.  Once I have that photo, I should be able to make a positive ID.
 
I am also waiting for the CD/ROM from the AFHRA -- I hope to be able to research the mission list from the 308th once I receive it, any day now.  I have ordered his service record but am unsure if I will be able to receive it, as I am not a direct relative.  I did  find a note that the record becomes public once the airman has been deceased for 62 years, so I might luck out -- if his records were not lost in the 1973 fire.
 
I did receive copies of the mission report for 42-73309's final combat mission -- the two-plane sea sweep that was completed the day before the fatal crash as the crew was returning to Kweilin after having been diverted to the field at Lingling when weather closed in over the home airfield. 
  
 
Interesting notes:  each aircraft carried six 500-lb. bombs and six 250-lb. weapons.  Both planes returned with their bombs after the mission as no targets were spotted during the sweep.  The planes are called by the last 3 digits of their tail numbers and last names of the pilots.  The report is headed as "Group Mission No. 122," but a sub-heading on the right notes "Mission No. 33."  I posted in the "All Hands" forum about the language on the 3rd page of the report describing the weather as "boo-how."
 
 
post edited by AlanStarcher - 2012/11/18 08:02:55
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Re:More research results 2011/06/21 20:50:50 (permalink)
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Received the dreaded letter from the National Personnel Records Center -- the file was lost in the 1973 fire.  They say that I can receive a copy of the "reconstructed" items from the NARA.  I might try it but I think I may have already seen what is available (MACR, induction record) through my Footnote account.
 
-- Alan
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Re:More research results 2011/06/22 06:54:54 (permalink)
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AlanStarcher
I did receive copies of the mission report for 42-73309's final combat mission -- the two-plane sea sweep that was completed the day before the fatal crash as the crew was returning to Kweilin after having been diverted to the field at Lingling when weather closed in over the home airfield.
Interesting notes:  each aircraft carried six 500-lb. bombs and six 250-lb. weapons.  Both planes returned with their bombs after the mission as no targets were spotted during the sweep.  The planes are called by the last 3 digits of their tail numbers and last names of the pilots.  The report is headed as "Group Mission No. 122," but a sub-heading on the right notes "Mission No. 33."  I posted in the "All Hands" forum about the language on the 3rd page of the report describing the weather as "boo-how."

Alan,
 
These planes were on temporary 'Detached Service' (DS) as a sub-section of the 308th supporting operations in East China. Note the "Forward Echelon" portion of second line following 'SUBJECT:'  The Mission Numbers '33' & '34' probably refer to missions of the "Forward Echelon", or they may be Squadron Mission Number. The "Group Mission No. 123" not part of the original document, but obviously added later. Although the planes on DS would be tracking their missions separately, some or all of those could also be added to the 308th Group Tally.  Hopefully, when you receive the CD, you will be able to determine when the detached service began, how many planes & men, etc.
 

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
AlanStarcher
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Re:More research results 2011/06/26 11:12:01 (permalink)
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Thanks, Tony, for your valuable information.  I will attempt to put it together when I receive the CD.
 
I did receive the obituary posted in Uncle Kay's hometown newspaper.  The photo was taken during flight school in California, nearly two years before the crash.  So far I've pieced together this timeline:
March 19, 1942 -- inducted into US Army at Clarksburg, WV (another small town close to his hometown of Weston).
July 13, 1942 -- involved in a minor accident while training at King City, CA -- nosed a PT-22 trainer aircraft and broke the prop. while practicing takeoffs/landings.
 
January 4, 1943 -- rated P (pilot?), from notation on the MACR.
 
January 1944 -- reported missing -- parachuted from aircraft and landed in dense jungle in India.  Injured but returned to duty (info from two obituaries in local newspapers).
 
May 27, 1944 -- final combat mission, sea sweep China Sea, landed at Lingling.
May 28, 1944 - while attempting to return to base in Kweilin, crashed about 50 miles from the forward base.
 
From reading other posts, it appears it took about 18 months from induction to assignment to combat duty.  This would put him in theatre about Fall/Winter 1943.  The obituaries state that he was in theatre for "several months" before the fatal crash.
 
Questions:
Does this timeline appear (roughly) accurate?
 
Would a pilot be designated a "chief pilot Liberator" after completing flight school?  Or woud he likely be assigned a Pilot rating and not assigned specifically as a chief pilot until later, perhaps after joining the group in theatre? 
 
-- Alan
post edited by AlanStarcher - 2011/06/26 12:02:54
tonystro
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Re:More research results 2011/06/26 21:03:42 (permalink)
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Alan,
 
back in 2008 shaef1944 posted a definitive timeline for pilot training, from pre- thru combat crew training, see post # 3 of this thread -- http://forum.armyairforce...mp;high=pilot+training
 
I believe Kay would have been designated a copilot when he arrived in China. Then, as he gained experience. he would have been upgraded to the left seat; ie., pilot or chief pilot.

Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
"USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
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