|Pilot 2nd Lt. Jerome B. Yates, O-801355 (MIA / KIA) MS
MIA February 1, 1945 5:30pm
Built by North American in Inglewood, California as a P-51D-10-NA Mustang. Constructors Number 109-28832. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South-West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Air Commando Group, 4th Fighter Squadron, Commando (4th Squadron). No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine V-1650-7 serial number V-325842. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 13400.
On February 1, 1945 took off from Mangaldan Airfield on Luzon on a mission to bomb and strafe a Japanese destroyer and destroyer escort off shore of Camiguin Island off northern Luzon. This aircraft was flying with wing man P-51 piloted by 1st Lt. Robert E. LaCroix. Weather was ceiling and visibility unlimited (CAVU).
Over the enemy vessels, a depth charge dropped exploded near Lt. Yates' tail. About a second later, coolant was observed streaming from his Mustang. His wingman LaCroix informed him of the leak and he acknowledge he was going to bail out and climbed to 2,000' then successfully bailed out.
LaCroix saw his Mustang crash at 5:30pm and circled his parachute until he landed in the sea and deployed his life raft and waved. At that time, the enemy vessels were roughly 10 miles away. The destroyer was stopped and the other headed away. He landed roughly 10 miles north of Camiguin Island roughly 15 miles off the northern coast of Luzon. When he failed to return Yates was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Afterwards, aircraft searched Camiguin Island shore areas and two different points of rock to the north and east an an approximately forty mile radius of the combat area. Also, the northern coast of Luzon in the vicinity of Aparri inland approximately 100 miles. No trace of this aircraft or pilot was observed.
Yates was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. He also has a memorial marker at Hazlehurst Cemetery in Hazlehurst, MS in the new section.
NARA - World War II Army Enlistment Records - Jerome B. Yates
Missing Air Crew Report 13400 (MACR 13400)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jerome B. Yates
FindAGrave - 1LT Jerome Bonaparte Yates (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Jerome Bonaparte "Bubba" Yates, Jr (memorial marker photo)
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January 5, 2018