|Pilot 1st Lt. Wesley B. Empey, O-727431 (MIA / KIA) UT
MIA January 16, 1944 at 11:30am
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Hawaii and reassembled.
Assigned 7th Air Force, 318th Fighter Group, 72nd Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine V1710-85 serial number 42-96746. Armed with four 50 caliber machine guns serial numbers: 41-17888, 293459, 40512, 298564 and 37mm cannon serial number 1888.
On January 16, 1944 took off from Makin Airfield on an escort mission and strafe Mille Island. Lost two to three miles west of Mille Island. This aircraft was observed to crash into the sea by 2nd Lt. Abel Morales, who did not see the pilot bail out and when he circled the crash, saw only an oil slick.
Empey was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl).
Todd Graf adds:
"My grandfather's only brother, also his only sibling, was one of those lost, Willard 'Blake' Empey."
American Battle Monuments Commission (AMBC) states Wesley was declared dead the day of the mission.
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 1903 states Empey was declared dead on October 30, 1944.
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February 4, 2018