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  F4U-1A Corsair Bureau Number 17557  
USMC
MAW-1
MAG-11
VMF-221


USN c1942

Pilot  1st Lt. Milton E. Schneider, O-016483 USMCR (MIA / KIA) Belmar, NJ
MIA  October 18, 1943


Aircraft History
Built by Vought. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1A Corsair bureau number 17557. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to the First Marine Air Wing (MAW-1), Marine Air Group 11 (MAG-11) to Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221) "Fighting Falcons". No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On October 18, 1943 took off from Barakoma Airfield on Vella LaVella Island at 4:50am piloted by 1st Lt. Milton E. Schneider on a fighters sweep against Kahili Airfield on southern Bougainville. The weather was reported as good with unlimited visibility.

The formation included six Corsairs from VMF-221 in two divisions. The first division was led by Major N. T. Post with 1st H. E. Sigal, Captain G. E. Dawkins and 2nd Lt. J. Pittman. The second division led by Captain James E. Swett with 1st Lt. Schneider, Captain A. Treffer and 1st Lt. R. M. Jones. Over Vella LaVella Island, the formation rendezvoused with twelve F4U Corsairs from VMF-214 "Black Sheep" that took off from Munda Airfield on New Georgia Island.

Over the target by 5:30am, the formation encountered between 40-50 A6M Zeros and engaged in air combat between Kahili Airfield southward to Ballale Airfield. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Memorials
Schneider was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Relatives
Ted Schneider (brother)
Randolph Schneider (nephew)
"My uncle, Milton Edward Schneider was flying a F-4U Corsair on October 18, 1943 when he was listed as Missing In Action. My grandmother was notified later that year. Years ago, my father Theodore (Ted), Milt’s brother, wanted closure to his brother’s death. They were fairly close until Milt shipped out overseas. My Dad looked up James E. Swett. At the time he had my uncle Milt’s flight log books as they were shipped back to my grandmother’s home in Belmar, NJ. That’s where Milt was raised. My father, Ted was sickly and went into a couple of nursing homes, here in Denver and contacted SARS and died of pneumonia. All my father’s remaining belongings were thrown away, including uncle Milt’s flight logbooks and his medals. I was pretty upset. I have Milt’s Eagle Scout ring from when he was in the Boy Scouts. He was a lifeguard at Point Pleasant beach in Jersey and had many girlfriends but was never married, according to my Dad. Dad finally got a hold of Jim, out in Redding, California and talked with him for quite a while and even flew him to his house in Blackhawk, Colorado. Dad said, Jim was very nice and was retired and couldn’t really remember the exact circumstances but said he remembered this. He said, “We were on a sweep to stir up the hornets’ nest, with high and low cover. He told my Dad, Boyington was high cover, we were low cover. We went in to draw up the Japs and when they all came up, I would call Boyington to come down with his group and help us out. Well, they all came up, a whole bunch of them and we were in trouble. I called Boyington to come on down but he never answered his radio. Swett said he tried multiple times but nobody answered. So, they had to fight them off by themselves. Apparently, Jim said my uncle Milt was his wingman that day. Jim told my Dad that Milt was on his wing when 4 or 5 zeros attacked them both and Milt’s airplane was hit heavily in the cockpit area. Jim said he saw the bullets converge on him and the airplane just rolled over on its back and disappeared through the clouds, never to be seen again. This is what my Dad said Jim had told him. Jim Swett died a few years ago. My Dad died in 2014. Quite an interesting story really. I had his logbooks but Dad wanted them back before he passed on so I gave them back to him. Now they’re gone. I guess Milt flew a 'birdcage' F-4U-1 but never had any photos taken of it. He trained in SNJ’s and then checked out in F4F Wildcats for a little bit before getting checked out in the Corsair at Pensacola."

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4U-1A Corsair 17557
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List October 1943 - F4U Corsair 17557
NARA Marine Fighting Squadron 221 War Diary Aircraft Action Report October 18, 1943 pages 14-16
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Milton E. Schneider
FindAGrave - 1Lt Milton Edward Schneider (photo)
Thanks to Randolph Schneider for additional information.

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Last Updated
March 2, 2018

 

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