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  C-47A-35-DL "Sure Skin" Serial Number 42-23860 Nose 238
USAAF
5th AF
FEASC
5295th ASAC (P)

Former Assignments
433rd TCG
68th TCS

Click For EnlargementClick For Enlargement
December 18, 1943

Pilot  F/O Robert E. Gennette, T-008609 15th ADG, 15th RS (MIA / KIA) Los Angeles, CA
Crew Chief  John C. Backius, 31423410 12th ADG, 12th RS (KIA, BR) NY
Crew Chief  Cpl Richard A. Gass, 39257090 (MIA / KIA) Canton, IL
Radio  Cpl Doyle L. Simmons, 39957090 15th ADG, 393th ASS (KIA, BR) Spring Canyon, UT
Passenger  T/3 Edward M. Kelly, 16038065 307th BG, HQ (KIA, BR) Chicago, IL
Passenger  T/5 Milton E. Miles, 32554493 307th BG, HQ (KIA) Tonawanda, NY
Passenger  T/5 Paul P. Dunlap, 35499182 307th BG, HQ (MIA / KIA) Louisville, KY
Passenger  T/5 Lloyd E. Smith, 35670095 (KIA, BR) Colmar, KY
Passenger  Pfc Manuel S. Alderette, 38215137 (KIA) Silver City, NM
Passenger  Pfc Thomas E. Gehringer, 36556122 307th BG, HQ (MIA / KIA) Chipman, MI
Passenger  Pfc Joseph F. Peragine, 32511073 (KIA) Bronx, NY
Passenger   PFc Ernest Huber, 6622238 (KIA, BR) Danville, IL
Passenger  Pvt James B. Ellis, 34339752 (KIA) Ardmore, TN
Passenger  Pvt Joseph S. Markulis, 36556929 307th BG, HQ (KIA) Detroit, MI
Passenger  Pfc Grant C. Ruchti, 39835720 (KIA) Salt Lake City, UT
Passenger  Cpl Broadus F. James, 34113675 (KIA) Marshville, NC
Passenger  T/5 Noel N. Knox, 17037463 1125th MO Company (KIA) Bemidji, MN
Passenger  Pfc L. W. Natson, 31183457 (KIA)
Passenger  SSgt Paul A. Gallick, 13025236 (KIA) South Bend, IN
Passenger  SSgt Carlton K. Nipher, 32143204 (KIA, BR) NY
Passenger  Pfc Lester M. Kranz, 38379652 (KIA) Monroe, LA
Passenger  CWO George Bloomer, W-2122327 (KIA) Stoneridge, NY
Passenger  Dr. Isabel Walstrom, civilian (KIA)
Passenger  SSgt Robert H. Meyers, 19127384 (KIA) Pasadena, CA
Passenger  Sgt Kingdon G. Ford, 13054819 (KIA) Ardmore, PA
Passenger  Sgt William B. Campbell, 32373777 15th ADG, 393rd AAS (KIA, BR) NY
Passenger  Captain Melvin D. Deck, O-355619 133rd General Hospital (KIA, BR) Porna, UT
Passenger  Sgt Melvin R. Robinson, 34453630 15th ADG, 393rd AAS (MIA / KIA) NC
Passenger  Lt(jg) E. J. Cycenains, USNR (KIA)
Passenger  Pfc Joseph M. Barone, 42127758 (KIA) NY

Crashed  September 6, 1945 at 9:00am
MACR  14986

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 9722. When lost, engines R-1830 serial numbers CP-364249 and 10525. No weapons were installed or aboard.

Wartime History
Flown overseas to Australia. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 433rd TCG, 68th TCS. Nicknamed "Sure Skin" with the nose art of a reclining nude woman on the left side of the nose and the nickname only on the right side. Nose number 238. A line of mission markings were painted on the left side of the fuselage, behind the cockpit.

Operated from New Guinea. On December 18, 1943 parked at Finschafen Airfield after delivering supplies for a fighter group.

During 1945, assigned to the FEASC (Far East Air Service Command) to the 5295th ASAC (P) in the Philippines.

Mission History
Took off from Tacloban Airfield (APO 72) on a flight bound for Nielson Field (APO 75) near Manila, aboard were four crew and twenty-six enlisted men as passengers. Weather was visibility 12 miles with lower scattered clouds and lower 8/10 clouds over northern Leyte with tops at 7,000' to 12,000'.

Last seen by Filipino natives over Ilben Point on Leyte (roughly 12 miles from Tacloban) at about 9:00am caught in an intense rain storm and possibly attempted to turn back to base. Filipino natives on the ground observed this C-47 was observed to be on fire and apparently exploded in midair and crashed over a wide area over the San Jacinico Strait between Leyte and Samar into San Pedro Bay. The cause of the explosion is unknown.

Search
After the crash, an intensive search by liaison aircraft and boats was made of the area including the sea, surrounding islands and native villages. Large pieces of wreckage were found over a mile area in shallow water, but the search initially failed to find any trace of the crew.

Wreckage
Large pieces of wreckage were found over a mile area in shallow water

Recovery of Remains
Filipinos were instructed to recover any bodies found and bring them to Tacloban. In total, they located the remains of all but four. The remains were temporarily buried at Leyte Cemetery #1. In total, twenty-one bodies were identified. Five bodies were unidentified but fingerprints were sent to Washington, DC.

Memorials
The entire crew and passengers were all officially declared dead the day of the mission.

Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery are Gennette, Gehringer, Dunlap and Robinson.

Buried at Manila American Cemetery are seven. Backius at plot B row 5 grave 141. Kelly at plot F row 1 grave 71. Huber at plot B, row 5 grave 154. Nipher at plot A row 13 grave 197. Campbell at plot A row 2 grave 162. Deck at Plot A Row 2 Grave 77.

Buried at Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl) is Markulis at plot D grave 14.

The others were transported to the United States for permanant burial.
Simmons is buried at Heber City Cemetery in Herber City, UT.
Smith is buried at Turner Cemetery #3 in Bell County, KY
Kranz at Jewish Cemetery Monroe, LA
Gallick is buried at Long Island National Cemetery at plot J, grave 15485
Knox is buried at Alaska Township Cemetery in Beltrami County, MN
Ruchti is buried at Logan City Cemetery in Logan, UT at plot A grave 75, 32, 7

References
MACR 14986 - generated September 7, 1945
FindAGrave - Doyle L Simmons (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lloyd E. Smith
FindAGrave - Lester Masur Kranz (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Paul A Gallick
FindAGrave - Noel M Knox (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Joseph S. Markulis (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Grant C. Ruchti (grave photos)

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

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