|Pilot 2nd Lt. Earl R. Stone, Jr., O-390872 (MIA / KIA, BNR) Los Angeles, CA
Crashed February 9, 1942
Earl R. Stone, Jr. was born October 15, 1918 the youngest son of Earl Reynolds Stone and Cassa Mary Bell. He attended Franklin Avenue School where he was a captain of the football team and debate captain then attended University of California class of 1940. On September 9, 1940 he enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) at Fort MacArthur. He became an Air Corps cadet and received his flight training at Randolph Field, Texas before he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.
After completing flight training, he was assigned to the 17th Pursuit Squadron based at Nichols Field near Manila in the Philippines. At the start of the Pacific War , he flew a combat mission on December 10, 1941 then participated in the aerial defense of the Bataan Peninsula flying from both Pilar Field and Bataan Field. Stone claimed a total of three aerial victories.
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40E Warhawk serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the Philippines and reassembled.
Assigned to the Far East Air Force, 24th Pursuit Group 17th Pursuit Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. This P-40 was flown in the defense of the Philippines during December - February 9, 1942.
On February 9, 1942 took off from Bataan Field at 1:00pm piloted by 2nd Lt. Earl R. Stone, Jr. as the wingman of flight leader Ben Brown, on an mission to a escort a Boeing Stearman Model 75 biplane piloted by Jesus Villamor to photograph the Ternate area from an altitude of 17,000' . Both P-40s were to fly above to provide top cover.
The Allied aircraft were spotted by a Ki-46 Dinah. Six Ki-27 Nates intercepted the formation over the Bataan Peninsula and a dog ensued between the Ki-27 Nates and P-40E Warkhawks. During the combat, Lt. Stone pursued a single Ki-27 Nate piloted by Kurosawa.
On the ground at Mariveles, on eye witness reported a Japanese fighter chasing a P-40 overhead, gaining on it. The two went in and out of clouds around Mount Mariveles, then an explosion was heard. Both Sgt Kurosawa and Lt. Stone failed to return. Both are listed as Missing In Action (MIA) to this day.
Spike Nasmyth adds:
"This eye witness was was at least 6 miles away from the fight so how in hell could he tell who was behind who. None of the other pilots in the fight said anything about a Nate chasing Stone, all of them did say one thing, Stone was a hell of a pilot. I believe he had the [Ki-27 Nate] in his sights and was blasting away. He finished off the Nate and didn't have room to pull out."
In February 2007, the wreckage of the Ki-27 Nate piloted by Kurosawa on Mount Mariveles was located by a team including Spike Nasmyth, Brad Blythe, Kevin Hamdorf and Filipinos who hoped to located Stone's P-40 crash site nearby.
Spike Nasmyth noted in 2007:
"It was our team that found the Type-97 [Nate]. We were hopeful the wreckage was [P-40 pilot] Lt. Earl Stone, but as soon as the radial engine was found we knew it was the Nate."
During February 2008, the team continued to search for Stone's P-40 in the same vicinity, without results.
During February 2009, Filipinos discovered wreckage on the same ridge, at roughly 600' lower elevation from Ki-27 Nate piloted by Kurosawa crash site. They discovered part of the Allison engine and began searching. Soon, they also discovered an aluminum ammunition chute from a P-40E Warhawk, .50 caliber ammunition and other wreckage. Immediately, in February 2009 the crash site was reported to JPAC.
Stone was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Stone is also has a memorial at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale) in Glendale, CA at plot GM, Memorial Terrace, Columbarium of Memory, Lot 0, Space 20351.
Wes Stone (brother of Stone)
Elizabeth Stone Moore (niece of Stone)
"My father, Earl's brother, is 95 years old. Any assistance would be welcome."
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Earl R. Stone
Los Angeles Times "Angeleno Pilot Bags Jap Trio Before Being Killed - Earl Stone Jr. Dies in Bataan Parents Told"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Earl R. Stone, Jr.
FindAGrave - 2Lt Earl Reynolds Stone, Jr (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lieut Earl R. Stone, III (photos, memorial marker photo)
Doomed from the Start pages 310 - 314, 461
Search & Recovery Mission - May 2008 Update by Kevin Hamdorf
Thanks to William Bartsch, Spike Nasmyth, Brad Blythe, Kevin Hamdorf and Elizabeth Stone for additional information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
January 5, 2018