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  B-25J-20 Mitchell Serial Number 44-29760  
USAAF
13th AF
42nd BG
100th BS

Click For Enlargement
42nd BG c1945

Pilot  1st Lt. Leonard E. Orcutt, O-764768 (MIA / KIA, BR) Alameda, CA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Robert S. Emerson, O-796347 (MIA / KIA, BR) Norway, ME
Navigator  Lt Harry L. Bedard, O-707927 (MIA / KIA, BR) Minneapolis, MN
Engineer  S/Sgt George L. "Rip" Winkler, 15170329 (MIA / KIA, BR) Huntington, WV
Gunner  Sgt Willis W. Ehrhardt, 19158202 (MIA , died April 4, 1945, BR) CA
Radio  T/Sgt Louis H. Miller, 13114684 (MIA / KIA) Philadelphia, PA

Crashed  April 3, 1945
MACR  13743

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas to the Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 100th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost engines R-2600-29 serial number 43-34610 and 43-36680. Weapon serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
On April 3, 1945 took off from Puerto Princesa Airfield on a combat mission to provide ground support for U. S. Army forces liberating Cebu City. Over the target, this B-25 crashed near Consolacion on Cebu Island. There was no fire after the crash.

Search
Immediately afterwards, a U. S. Army patrol searched for and located the crash site. During the initial search another body was found in a swamp. The next day, Filipinos found Lt. Ehrhardt alive, but he died soon after from injuries.

Recovery of Remains
On January 13, 1947 US Army AGRS recovered five crewmen from the crash site which were interred as unknowns in USAF Cemetery #1 on Leyte on February 20, 1947 in Common Grave 8490 as X-566, X-567, X-568, X-569, X-570.

In 1949, these remains were disinterred and transported to the AGRS Mausoleum in Manila, Hanger 802, Row A crypt 250 through 254 as X-2363, X-2364, X-2366, X-2367, X-2369. In April 1949, records state the remains could not be individually identified, Assigned names of crew of Mission #299. These five sites of remains were then transported to the United States for group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

During 1951, another US Army team recovered more remains from the crash site. In a 1978 letter written by US Army veteran Mr. Harvey on Cebu who stated he received "several gunny sacks filled with skeletons, dog tags and a plane number" which he in turn sent to Clark AFB and a request was made for Winkler's dental records. One memo, 6 March 1951, states Orcutt and Emerson "now in our custody" and identification tags. There were several others not yet identified.

In 1953 another U. S. Army team recovered more remains. The remains recovered from 1951 and 1953 were missing or lost for decades, unaccountable.

During 2001, Mickey Beard (sister of Winkler) contacted the U. S. Army about the additional remains found in the 1950s. In 2008, the U. S. Army then disinterred the group remains at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The remains were transported to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in Oahu, Hawaii for forensic identification.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Ehrhardt died April 4, 1945. After the recovery of remains, during December 1949, five crew were buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 79 site 449A-B including Bedard, Emerson, Miller, Orcutt and Winkler.

Orcutt also has a memorial marker at Saint Marys Cemetery in Oakland, CA. After the group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was exhumed, Orcutt's remains were reburied at this grave on May 5, 2011.

Ehrhardt was first buried at USAF Cemetery No. 1 at Cebu on April 4, 1945. He was disinterred during 1946 and reburied at Leyte Cemetery. During 1948, Ehrhardt was permanently buried at Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl) at section N site 1224. Afterwards, he was permanently buried at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura, CA at section D.

After the group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was exhumed, Emerson was buried on May 5, 2011 at Norway Pine Grove Cemetery in Paris, Maine.

Bedard is buried at New Saint John the Baptist Cemetery in Dayton, MN.

Winkler has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery at section MF site 46-B-5. Ager the group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was exhumed, Winkler's remains were buried in an individual burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 9363.

After the group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was exhumed, Miller was buried in 2011 at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 7027.

Relatives
Mickey Beard (sister of Winkler)
"My brother, S/Sgt George L. Winkler was with the 13th Air Force, 100th BS, 42nd BG. He wrote in his journal that on November 17, 1944 he was on detached service to the 5th Air Force, 822th Bomb Squadron, 38th Bomb Group. On his last mission 3 April 1945 his plane. I have really struggled with all of this for a long time. CILHI became involved in January 2001. Their interest was in the Harvey letter. However, every time I told them my story I was handed off to another person and we would start over. I have recently asked Senator John Warner (VA) to help. They are very interested. As far as the government is concerned, my brother is accounted for and buried in St. Louis. He is not. I want him reclassified as MIA. I have just received a DNA kit which I will send to the lab in Maryland. I appreciate this opportunity Justin has given me. If anyone can help me I will be grateful. My brother gave his life for his country. He deserves to come home with dignity and honor."

References
FindAGrave - Leonard E Orcutt (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Leonard E Orcutt (photo, memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Harry L Bedard (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Robert S Emerson (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - LT Robert S. "Bob" Emerson (photo, obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Harry L Bedard (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Harry L Bedard (grave photo)
FindAGrave - George L Winkler (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt George Lewis Winkler (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Sgt Willis W Ehrhardt
FindAGrave - Louis H Miller (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Louis H Miller (grave photo)
The Journal Press "Rip's Homecoming" (Part 1) April 28, 2011
The Journal Press "The Long Journey Home" (Part 2) May 4, 2011
The Journal Press "Journey's End" (Part 3) May 11, 2011
Oxford Hills Sun Journal "66 years later: Norway vet laid to rest" July 9, 2011
DoD "Airmen Missing In Action from WWII Identified" New Release 539-11 June 22, 2011
CBS News "Some troops killed in WWII still haven't been brought home" July 16, 2014
Thanks to Mickey Beard for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-25

MIA
MIA
6 Missing

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