Seeking info on B25J #44-29371 crash site.

Discussion about wrecks and losses as well as historic sites in the Pacific.

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JaguarMaster
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Seeking info on B25J #44-29371 crash site.

Post by JaguarMaster » Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:57 pm

Although I've long known my Uncle, Sgt. Walter Waskewich, was shot down by ground fire on May 6th, 1945 in the Philippines and the communal remains of some of the crew (that I think were found in 1947, or so I was told) were buried in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Kentucky, I never was able to find any detailed information. The National Archives line is all service records, from the letter P, were destroyed by fire in Ohio back in the 1970s. I joined "The Sun Setters", 38th BG Association, but they still had the aircraft listed as MIA in their records and the group was planning to fold since there are too few members left. (They held their last reunion in 2010) My father died when I was a teen and I was never able to talk with him about the war. The loss of his only brother and the fact that he served as a medic in the ETO, was still too painful.
I only recently came across a passage in "Phantom Warrior" by Forrest Bryant Johnson (published back in 2007) that detailed the mission, crew, and 4 passengers, who went on a recon mission in the Dingalan Bay and Baguio areas of western Luzon. I contacted Mr. Forrest for his sources and he is, graciously, going to search through many stored boxes to find any info for me. He was unaware that any remains had ever been found and he told me he had tried for years to find out. I sent him photos of the gravesite and he was pleased to have them, just as I was to begin this wonderful exchange of information with him. The marker does not include the names of the plane's radioman, and two of the observers. Their resting places are unknown to me, at this point.
My most prized possession is an old photo album that my uncle was compiling while he was serving and it is full of incredible shots of him and his squadron (many in flight, parafragging, etc.) and of scantily clad natives (of course!) and even some of Japanese POWs. Along with most photos is a thoughtful (and many times, very humorous) caption that gave me some insight to the wonderful person he must have been.
I've always been so proud that my dad named me after him!
If anyone has any information about the crash site of #44-29371, I will be grateful. The book's account had it last flying south over the higher peaks of the Sierra Madres and over the Umiray River, where it received AA fire and crashed into a wooded hillside.

RSwank
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Re: Seeking info on B25J #44-29371 crash site.

Post by RSwank » Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:49 am

As you know the story, for others here is a link:
http://flgrube1.tripod.com/id341.html

Seven of the crew are buried at Zachary Taylor
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cg ... i=26105394

Reardon is at Golden Gate National Cemetery:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cg ... d=64851577
Ames and Kirby are in the Manila American Cemetery:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cg ... d=56754204
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cg ... d=56752402

You could probably learn more about the crash and recovery of the bodies by requesting the IDPF file (293 file) for Waskewich (or the files for the whole crew for that matter).
There are instructions on how to do that at this site, for example. It can take up to a year to get the information.
http://www.armyairforces.com/ResearchHelp.aspx

JaguarMaster
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Re: Seeking info on B25J #44-29371 crash site.

Post by JaguarMaster » Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:12 pm

Thank you Lt. Swank!!!!!! A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!
This is incredible!!!!!! All this wealth of new information within 24 hrs. of joining this site!! Another great reason to be thankful, added to the multitude I already have.
I will forward this site to Mr. Johnson. He will be just as ecstatic as I am.

RSwank
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Re: Seeking info on B25J #44-29371 crash site.

Post by RSwank » Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:38 pm

I looked up a little more info. Attached are three internment documents which give a little info. It would appear that the men were first interned in the AAF Santa Barbara Cemetery #1 on Luzon. This was a temporary cemetery. At some some point there was a consolidation to the Manila American Cemetery. It may be at that point that bodies were returned to the US or remained in the Philippines (choice of the family). It is possible that the the men who could not be individually identified were always in a group grave, both in the Philippines and in the US. I do no know.
JohnFReardon.jpg
Reardon
JohnFReardon.jpg (127.36 KiB) Viewed 3234 times
LouisBrunoII.jpg
Bruno
LouisBrunoII.jpg (127.46 KiB) Viewed 3234 times
WalterWaskewich.jpg
Waskewich
WalterWaskewich.jpg (130.99 KiB) Viewed 3234 times

JaguarMaster
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Re: Seeking info on B25J #44-29371 crash site.

Post by JaguarMaster » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:34 am

I cannot thank you enough for the wealth of information you have supplied me with. God bless you and all your family and friends.

Walter

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