|Pilot 1st Lt James W. Blose, O-427506 (MIA) PA
Crashed April 22, 1942
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled on Fiji.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 347th Fighter Group, 70th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On April 22, 1942 one of two Airacobras that took off from Suva Airfield (Nausori) on Viti Levu Island in Fiji on a training mission. Ten minutes into the flight, the mission was canceled and both pilots were ordered to return to base. Only one aircraft returned. The other pilot Blose was never seen nor heard from again and was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). The aircraft was officially condemned June 15, 1944.
This Airacobra crashed on Viti Levu Island. Reportedly, this wreck was discovered by a locals. During 1996, Michael Claringbould visited the crash site and reported it to US Army CILHI.
Michael Claringbould adds:
"This P-39 was first discovered by me in 1996. I was taken there by a villager who did not speak English, and we had to go through a sevusevu ceremony before walking in. I later reported the wreck as a P-39 to CILHI through then US Ambassador, Larry Dinger. no reply was received from US Army CILHI, and I know Dinger pushed the matter honorably. I did not identify the P-39 at the time as could not locate its serial, and was not even sure whether it was an MIA ship at that time. The underwings still had "US ARMY" on them, but I could not find the fuselage (had Blose in it as it turns out). Fiji One did a TV report in 2006, acknowledging me as the original finder."
During August 2004 this crash site was again reported by a Fijiian citizen to American authorities.
Recovery of Remains
During 2005, the crash site was investigated by a team from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).
During June 2006, another team from JPAC excavated the site for thirty days and recovered the remains of the pilot plus the microphone electrical plug with Blose's initials engraved on it. The recovered remains were examined using dental comparison. In 2007, Blose was officially identified by the Department of Defense (DoD).
Blose was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).
After his remains were recovered and identified, Blose was buried in September 2007 at Americas Cemetery in Hermitage, PA.
Paul Blose (brother, died 1992)
Susan Blose Crowley (niece of Blose)
Fiji One TV Report, 2006
JPAC New Release "JPAC Team Departs For Hawaii" June 16, 2006
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) James W. Blose "His remains were recovered"
FindAGrave - 1Lt James W Blose (photos, courts of the missing photo)
1LT James Wendell Blose (photos, grave photo)
Thanks to Michael Claringbould for additional information
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January 5, 2018