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  C-46D-10-CU Commando Serial Number 44-77767  
USAAF
5th AF
403rd TCG
63rd TCS

PacificWrecks.com
USAAF c1944
Pilot  1st Lt. Dean W. Gordon, O-769423 (MIA / KIA, BR) River Falls, WI
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Harvey E. Meitner, O-770715 (MIA / KIA, BR) Waterloo, WI
Co-Pilot  F/O Leslie H. Latham, T-7620 (MIA / KIA, BR) Stockton, CA
Navigator  2nd Lt. Edward L. Seebon, O-2078704 (MIA / KIA, BR) Fostoria, OH
Crew Chief  SSgt Robert E. Beasley, 37137706 (MIA / KIA, BR) St. Louis, MS
Radio  Sgt Casimir J. Kaplan, 32460015 (MIA / KIA, BR) Bayonne, NJ
Mail Clerk  Cpl Don C. Tang, 39862104 (MIA / KIA, BR) Phoenix, AZ
Passenger  TSgt Paul J. Tyler (MIA / KIA, BR) Salem, OR
Crashed  July 17, 1945
MACR  14767

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss-Wright. Constructors Number 33163. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as C-46D-10-CU Commando serial number 44-77767. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 403rd Troop Carrier Group (403rd TCG), 63rd Troop Carrier Squadron (63rd TCS). No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engines R2800-75 serial numbers FF-084624 and FF-087135. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On July 17, 1945 took off from Palawan Airfield (APO 705) piloted by 1st Lt. Dean W. Gordon on a transportation and mail run transporting cargo bound for Nichols Field (APO 75). At take off, weather conditions were diminishing to 1,000' ceiling a APO 75 with heavy rain along the route. Wind was 20 knots requiring solid instrument flying above 1,000'. An hour and 20 minutes after takeoff, this aircraft sent a message giving their estimated time of arrival that was received by Nichols Field. When this aircraft failed to arrive it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). In fact, this C-46 crashed onto the peak of a mountain on northwest Mindoro Island.

Search
At 6:00pm Air Sea Rescue Service (ASRS) began searching for this aircraft, searching the entire path of the mission. On July 19, 1945 seven aircraft were used to search. On July 20, 1945 three aircraft were used. On June 21, 1945 this aircraft was discovered on the "northeast side of a peak on the northwestern tip of Mindoro Island, where it had crashed".

Wreckage
Afterwards, this crash site was located and remains recovered.

Recovery of Remains
After the recovery of remains, the remains were transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Since the flight was a non-combat flight, none of the crew earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

Gordon, Meitner and Latham are buried in a group burial at Fort McPherson Cemetery at plot R, 0, 3.

Seebon is buried at Saint Wendelin Catholic Cemetery in Fostoria, OH.

Beasley is buried at Manila American Cemetery at plot L row 17 grave 60.

Kaplan is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, NJ.

Tang is buried at Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery in Phoenix, AZ.

Tyler is buried at Belcrest Memorial Park in Salem, OR at block 10, section 14, lot 5.

Relatives
John "Mighty" Meitner (son of Harvey E. Meitner)
mitey@midplains.net
"I am now decided to make an effort to get a Purple Heart awarded for my father 1 Lt. Harvey E. Meitner. Don't know if this will ever help you with anything, but..... Now I must report to you that the Army (in June of 1949) did recover the remains of the six men in that plane, transport them to the US, and they are buried in two communal graves at Ft. McPherson."

References
Note, U. S. Army records and MACR 14767 spell crew member "Casimir J. Kaplan" yet his grave spells his first name "Casimer".
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Dean W. Gordon

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Harvey E. Meitner

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Casimir J. Kaplan
USAF Serial Number Search Results - C-46D-10-CU Commando 44-77767
Missing Air Crew Report 14767 (MACR 14767) created July 20, 1945
FindAGrave - 1LT Dean W Gordon (photos, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Harvey E Meitner (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Leslie H Latham (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Edward L Seebon (grave photos)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert E. Beasley
FindAGrave - Robert E. Beasley (news, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Casimer J. Kaplan first name spelled "Casimer"
FindAGrave - Corp Don C. Tang (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Paul J. Tyler

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Last Updated
July 17, 2020

 

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