Lt. Richard P. Stier (KIA, BR) Milwaukee, WI
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. This aircraft was unpainted in a natural aluminum finish. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
13, 1945 took off from Murtha Airfield on Mindoro one of four P-38s on an orientation
two new pilots: 1st Lt. Stier piloting this aircraft and P-38 Lightning piloted by 2nd Lt. Donald Henderson, flying in the number 2 position. As part of the orientation,
two experienced pilots showed the new pilots the various
airfields in the southwest corner of Mindoro. Both new pilots were tested by the flight leader in an exercise called "rat racing", a series
of maneuvers that one might use in aerial dog fights.
of this "rat racing," the flight leader took the group into
a split-S dive through clouds. Lt. Henderson and Lt. Stier
pulled out of their dive. The reason for this is unknown.
possibly vertigo or wing compressibility
problem inherent to P-38's during dives, or the possibility
that Henderson and Stier collided in the clouds. When Stier failed to return, he was listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was P-38L piloted by Henderson.
Recovery of Remains
A body part suspected to be
one of the pilots who crashed was found about three miles out
at sea off the southwest coast of Mindoro on July 14, 1945, a day after
this accident. In the late 1940's by the
process of elimination, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) in Manila
assessed that the (then MIA) body part found on July 14, 1945 was probably
part of Lt. Stier's remains.
Stier was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After his remains were identified, they were transported to the United States for permanent burial in the early 1950s at Holy Cross Cemetery & Mausoleum in Milwaukee, WI at block 1, section 1, lot 267
Gerry Stier (widow of Stier)
Beth Kustra (daughter of Stier)
"My mother, Gerry Stier was
78 years old when she made
the trip to the Philippines. She had never remarried."
Kathleen Rockweiler (daughter of Stier)
Richard P. Stier - Missing P-38L Lightning crash site on Mindoro
FindAGrave - Lieut Richard P Stier
Beth Kustra and Dick Kustra for additional information
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June 29, 2019