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Captain Robert F. Meeker
A-20 Pilot, 417th Bomb Group, 673rd Bomb Squadron
by Barbara Graham Hammaker (Niece of Capt. Robert F. Meeker)

Background
Robert F. Meeker ( called "Rufe" by his friends) was born February 25, 1920 in Tiffin, Ohio. He grew up in Lakewood, Ohio, and attended Ohio State for two years. He joined the US Army Air Force in 1942 to become a cadet. He was trained on A-20 Havocs in Oklahoma and California before shipping out to the Pacific.

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Wartime Service
Stationed in New Guinea from 1943-1944 and Luzon, Philippines during 1945. As documents have become declassified, my mom and I learned that my uncle was actively flying low level bombing missions over the Philippines, and also rescuing downed flyers from the Japanese. Mom stated that he had three A-20's in total, due to the tails getting shot by enemy flack. A-20 "Boogie Queen" was one of the planes, but the one photo that I can see his name on looks like a name of "Madame Ch-" (that is all that shows in the picture, unfortunately).

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R&R in Australia
Due to exhaustion from flying double the normal required sorties, he was sent to Australia for R & R. At that point, he wrote that he was so exhausted that he could barely hold the pen to write anymore. He was set to return to New Guinea to collect his things to now come home for a much deserved rest.

Missing In Action (MIA)
On March 27, 1945 he boarded the fateful C-47 "Windy City" 43-16011 flight. It is interesting that my Mom stated that Uncle Bob had written a letter to the family stating that he was way-laid extra days in Australia because of engine trouble with "Windy City", and that they had to wait until parts could come available. He also stated that he "would not ever have flown one of those buckets of bolts" (C-47s)! That letter reached Mom's family after Uncle Bob was lost.

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