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  C-46D-5-CU Commando Serial Number 44-77341 Callsign XA395
USAAF
5th AF
433rd TCG
70th TCS

Pilot  2nd Lt Clark E. Chapman, O-711586 (KIA) Alton, IL
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Versal R. Josephson (KIA) St. Anthony, ID
Navigator  2nd Lt James R. Norton (KIA) Alamosa, CO
Engineer  Cpl Gordon G. Vondrak (KIA) Thompson, NB
Radio  SSgt William J. Treich, 32454260 (KIA) Jersey City, NJ
Flight Nurse  1st Lt. Martha F. Black, N-787995 (KIA) Altoona, PA
Flight Nurse Aid  Cpl Delbert W. Beery, 35093544 (KIA) North Munebeater, IN
Passengers  30 medical evacuees

Crashed  March 10, 1945
MACR  13403

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss-Wright. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 433rd Troop Carrier Group (TCG), 70th Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS). No known nickname or nose art. Call sign XA395. When lost, engines R-2800-51 serial numbers CP-082019 and CP-082303. Aboard were two M1A1 submachine guns.

Mission History
Took off from Clark Field No. 2 at 10:17am with two flight nurses from the 820th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron, then landed at nearby Mabalacat Airfield where thirty medical patients were loaded for evacuation [list of passengers]. This aircraft took off again at roughly 14:00 - 14:10 on a flight bound for Tanauan Airfield on Leyte. Weather conditions were unfavorable, with a low ceiling, scattered and five miles visibility at the destination. At approximately 16:30 to 17:00 this aircraft called to the control tower at Tanauan for landing instructions and for five ambulances to stand by for patients. This was the last radio contact with the aircraft, afterwards, no reply was received.

Search
After being reported missing, several search missions were flown. On March 13, 1945 C-47 X146 piloted by Lt. Hayden took off from Dulag at 14:20, delayed due to bad weather searched unsuccessfully over Leyte. On March 14, 1945 C-47 Dakota X376 piloted by Captain McGinnis took off from Dulag at 10:22am and searched the northern half of Leyte and southern half of Samar without results. The same day X379 departed Dulag and searched the southern half of Leyte and Bohol. On March 15, XA363 and XA359 searched Leyte and the surrounding seas. On March 17, X346 and X347 took off from Tanauan searched northern Panay, the east coast of Mindoro, northern Cebu, Masbate, Biliran, Tabas, Burias, Sibuyan, Remblew and the Ticao Islands. The searches revealed nothing.

Wreckage
The crash site was located and the remains of the crew were recovered.

Memorials
All crew and passengers were officially declared dead the day of the mission. The remains of the crew were recovered and initially buried on Leyte. Later, their remains were disinterred and transported back to Manila and the United States for permanent burial.

Buried at Manila American Cemetery is Treich at plot B row 7 grave 158. Black at Plot B Row 3 Grave 13. Beery at plot B row 11 grave 150. Bolynn at plot D row 4 grave 256. Crossland at Plot C Row 9 Grave 75. Griffin at plot D row 13 grave 25. Pretzer at plot B Row 11 grave 116. Brugas at plot C row 13 grave 75. Fox at plot B Row 16 grave 133. Pohl at plot D row 14 grave 220. Ruley at plot B row 14 grave 111. Bell at Plot D Row 5 Grave 205. Dyas at Plot H Row 14 Grave 108. Garner at Plot D Row 12 Grave 202. Carroccio at Plot B Row 13 Grave 141.

The following were transported to the United States for final burial:
Buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery is Disney at section C, site 120
Buried at Long Island National Cemetery is Uller at section J site 16507
Buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery is Nelson at section C-23 site 13270
Josephson was buried at Parker Memorial Park in Parker Idaho on September 18, 1948.
Norton is buried at Alamosa Municipal Cemetery in Alamosa, Colorado.
McClendon is buried at Wolf Creek Cemetery in Spring City, TN
Hunter is buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, NY
Snow is buried at Fairlawn Cemetery in Snyder, OK
Walther at buried at La Belle Cemetery in Oconomowoc, WI
Heiskell is buried at Lynnhurst Cemetery in Knoxville, TN
The others are presumed to be buried in private cemeteries in the United States.

References
FindAGrave - Versal Ray Josephson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - James R. Norton (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Clifton F. Disney (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Eugene McClendon (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William E Hunter (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lois Bell (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Calvin J. Snow
FindAGrave - Floyd Edward Walther (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Alvin L Nelson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - James M. Heiskell
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) incorrectly lists the date of death for Black, Brugas, Bolynn and Beery as July 10, 1945

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Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

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