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42nd BG c1945
|Pilot 1st Lt. Leonard E. Orcutt, O-764768 (MIA / KIA, BR) Alameda, CA
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Robert S. Emerson, O-796347 (MIA / KIA, BR) Norway, ME
Navigator Lt Harry L. Bedard, O-707927 (MIA / KIA, BR) Minneapolis, MN
Engineer SSgt George L. "Rip" Winkler, 15170329 (MIA / KIA, BR) Huntington, WV
Gunner Sgt Willis W. Ehrhardt, 19158202 (MIA , died April 4, 1945, BR) CA
Radio TSgt Louis H. Miller, 13114684 (MIA / KIA, BR) Philadelphia, PA
Crashed April 3, 1945
Built by North American Aviation (NAA). Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25J-20 Mitchell Serial Number 44-29760. Ferried overseas to the South Pacific (SOPAC).
Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 42nd Bombardment Group (42nd BG) "The Crusaders", 100th Bombardment Squadron (100th BS). No known nose art or nickname. When lost engines R-2600-29 serial number 43-34610 and 43-36680. Weapon serial numbers unknown.
On April 3, 1945 took off from Puerto Princesa Airfield on a combat mission to provide ground support for U.S. Army forces liberating Cebu City. Over the target, this B-25 crashed near Consolacion on Cebu Island. There was no fire after the crash.
Immediately after the crash, a U.S. Army patrol located the crash site and found a body in a swamp. On April 4, 1945 Filipinos found Lt. Ehrhardt alive, but he died from his wounds and his body was turned over to the U.S. Army.
Recovery of Remains
On January 13, 1947 American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) recovered five crewmen from the crash site. On February 20, 1947 they were interred as unknowns at USAF Cemetery #1 on Leyte in common grave 8490 as X-566, X-567, X-568, X-569, X-570.
In 1949, these remains were disinterred and transported to the AGRS Mausoleum in Manila, Hanger 802, Row A crypt 250 through 254 as X-2363, X-2364, X-2366, X-2367, X-2369. In April 1949, records state the remains could not be individually identified, Assigned names of crew of Mission #299. These five sites of remains were then transported to the United States for group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
During 1951, another U.S. Army team recovered more remains from the crash site. In a 1978 letter written by US Army veteran Mr. Harvey on Cebu who stated he received "several gunny sacks filled with skeletons, dog tags and a plane number" which he in turn sent to Clark AFB and a request was made for Winkler's dental records. One memo, 6 March 1951, states Orcutt and Emerson "now in our custody" and identification tags. There were several others not yet identified.
In 1953 another U.S. Army team recovered more remains. The remains recovered from 1951 and 1953 were missing or lost for decades, unaccountable.
During 2001, Mickey Beard (sister of Winkler) contacted the U.S. Army about the additional remains found in the 1950s. In 2008, the U.S. Army then disinterred the group remains at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The remains were transported to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in Oahu, Hawaii for forensic identification.
Bedard, Emerson, Miller, Orcutt and Winkler were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Ehrhardt died of his injuries on April 4, 1945.
Ehrhardt died of his injuries on April 4, 1945 and was first buried at USAF Cemetery No. 1 at Cebu City on April 4, 1945. He was disinterred in 1946 and reburied at Leyte Cemetery. During 1948, Ehrhardt was permanently buried at Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl) at section N site 1224. Later, he was permanently buried at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura, CA at section D.
After the recovery of remains during December 1949, five crew were buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 79 site 449A-B including Bedard, Emerson, Miller, Orcutt and Winkler.
Orcutt also has a memorial marker at Saint Marys Cemetery in Oakland, CA. After the group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was exhumed, Orcutt's remains were reburied at this grave on May 5, 2011.
After the group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was exhumed, Emerson was buried on May 5, 2011 at Norway Pine Grove Cemetery in Paris, Maine.
Bedard is buried at New Saint John the Baptist Cemetery in Dayton, MN.
Winkler has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery at section MF site 46-B-5.
After the group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was exhumed, Winkler's remains were buried in an individual burial at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 9363. In 2011, Miller was buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 60 site 7027.
Mickey Beard (sister of Winkler)
"My brother, S/Sgt George L. Winkler was with the 13th Air Force, 100th BS, 42nd BG. He wrote in his journal that on November 17, 1944 he was on detached service to the 5th Air Force, 822th Bomb Squadron, 38th Bomb Group. On his last mission 3 April 1945 his plane. I have really struggled with all of this for a long time. CILHI became involved in January 2001. Their interest was in the Harvey letter. However, every time I told them my story I was handed off to another person and we would start over. I have recently asked Senator John Warner (VA) to help. They are very interested. As far as the government is concerned, my brother is accounted for and buried in St. Louis. He is not. I want him reclassified as MIA. I have just received a DNA kit which I will send to the lab in Maryland. I appreciate this opportunity Justin has given me. If anyone can help me I will be grateful. My brother gave his life for his country. He deserves to come home with dignity and honor."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25J-20/22-NC Mitchell 44-29760
"29760 crashed while on mission over island of Cebu Apr 3, 1945."
FindAGrave - Leonard E Orcutt (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Leonard E Orcutt (photo, memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Robert S Emerson (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - LT Robert S. “Bob” Emerson (photo, obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Harry L Bedard (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Harry L Bedard (grave photo 2011 burial)
FindAGrave - George L Winkler (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt George Lewis Winkler (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Willis W Ehrhardt (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Louis H Miller (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Louis H Miller (grave photo)
The Journal Press "Rip's Homecoming" (Part 1) April 28, 2011
The Journal Press "The Long Journey Home" (Part 2) May 4, 2011
The Journal Press "Journey's End" (Part 3) May 11, 2011
Oxford Hills Sun Journal "66 years later: Norway vet laid to rest" July 9, 2011
DoD "Airmen Missing In Action from WWII Identified" New Release 539-11 June 22, 2011
CBS News "Some troops killed in WWII still haven't been brought home" July 16, 2014
FindAGrave - Mary Margaret “Mickey” Boster Beard (photo, obituary)
Thanks to Mickey Beard for additional information
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