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  C-47-DL Skytrain Serial Number 41-18668 Call Sign VH-CFG
5th AF
374th TCG
21st TCS

Pilot  1st Lt Charles O. Cathcart, O-664971 (MIA / KIA, BR) Davenport City, IA
Co-Pilot  F/O Darwin R. Hamilton, T-185577 (MIA / KIA, BR) UT
Engineer  Sgt Theodore Slocki, 32168337 (MIA / KIA, BR) Middlesex County, NJ
Radio  Sgt William H. Fetzer, 13048370 (MIA / KIA, BR) Glen Campbell, PA
Passenger  Cpl Jeremiah J. Ryan, 17038060 35th FC Sqn (KIA, BR) Richardson County, NB
Passenger  Pfc Austin J. Lothschutz, 36159172 35th FC Squadron (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Pvt Sam Rothstein, 32486190 35th FC Squadron (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Cpl Thomas B. Renkes, 16045592 39th FS, HQ (KIA, BR) Calhoun County, MI
Passenger  Cpl Earl L. Kahler, 17024726, 39th FS, HQ (KIA, BR) Platte, WY
Crashed  August 15, 1943
MACR  14358

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 6029. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as C-47 Skytrain serial number 41-18668. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 374th Troop Carrier Group (374th TCG), 21st Troop Carrier Squadron (21st TCS). Australian call sign VH-CFG. Buzz Number / Nose number 13. When lost, engines R-1830-92 serial numbers: 42-11207 (left) and 42-11210 (right). No armament was aboard this aircraft.

Mission History
On August 15, 1943 took off from Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt Charles O. Cathcart fully loaded with supplies and personnel of the 35th Fighter Command and 39th Fighter Squadron (39th FS) bound for Tsili Tsili Airfield. The weather was unlimited visibility. While in the traffic pattern to land at Tsili Tsili Airfield, the second flight including this aircraft were intercepted by Ki-43 Oscars from the 59th Sentai led by Shigeo Nongo. This C-47 was last seen flying at roughly 700' on a course of about 120°  southwest of Tsili Tsili. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost is C-47 "Liliane" 41-18682 (KIA).

The next day, a plane from Port Moresby searched the entire area around Tsili Tsili without results. Afterwards, ground searches failed to locate any trace of the aircraft or the crew.

In fact, this C-47 crashed roughly five to eight miles from Tsili Tsili and was not located until 1950.

Recovery of Remains
During 1950, this crash site was discovered and the remains of the crew were recovered. Afterwards, the recovered remains were transported to the USAF Mausoleum #1 at Manila American Cemetery. Two of the crew, Ryan and Cathcart were individually identified.

Six of the crew: Fetzer, Hamilton, Lothschutz, Rothstein, Kahler and Renkes were not individaully identifeid and their remains were transported to the United States for permenant burial.

The entire crew was officially declared dead on August 15, 1943. Each member of the crew earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.

On March 16, 1950 the remains of six of the crew: Fetzer, Hamilton, Lothschutz, Rothstein, Kahler and Renkes were buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 79 site 458-460.

Cathcart is buried at Manila American Cemetery at plot H row 13 grave 127.

Ryan is buried at Manila American Cemetery at plot F row 4 grave 7.

Slocki is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 34 site 4194.

Fetzer is also memorialized on the grave of his parents in Trcziyulny Cemetery in Milesburg, PA at row 1, plot 4, secton 4.

Hamilton also has a memorial marker at Memory Grove Memorial in Salt Lake City, UT.

Larry Slocki (nephew of Slocki)
"Theodore Slocki was my uncle. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in 1950. The story I heard from my Dad (his younger brother) was that his remains were found that year, hence his funeral then at Arlington."

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Charles O. Cathcart
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Darwin R. Hamilton
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Theodore Slocki
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William H. Fetzer
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Jeremiah J. Ryan
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Austin J. Lothschutz
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Sam Rothstein
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Thomas B. Renkes
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Ear L. Kahler first name listed as "Ear" [sic, Earl]
USAF Serial Number Search Results - C-47-DL Skytrain 41-18668
"18668 (MSN 6029) to USAAF Nov 10, 1942 - 5th AF, Australia Feb 20, 1943. MIA (374th TCG) Aug 15, 1943. MACR 14358."
Missing Air Crew Report 14358 (MACR 14358) created May 19, 1945
35th Fighter Group "Historical Resume", page 5 via Carlos Dannacher
Japanese Army Air Force Aces 1937-45 (1998) page 6
Allied Air Transport Operations SWPA in WWII Volume 2, page 11, 51, 72, 79
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - C-47 41-18668
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles O. Cathcart
FindAGrave - 1Lt Charles O Cathcart (photos, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Darwin R Hamilton (group burial photos)
FindAGrave - FO Darwin R Hamilton (memorial marker photo)
ANC Explorer - Theodore Slocki (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Theodore Slocki (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William H Fetzer (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Corp William H Fetzer (memorial marker photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Jeremiah J. Ryan
FindAGrave - Corp Jeremiah J Ryan (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Austin J Lothschutz (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Sam Rothstein (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Thomas B Renkes (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - CPL Earl L Kahler (group burial photo)
Thanks to Daniel Leahy and Edward Rogers and Ted Darcy for additional information

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Last Updated
May 14, 2021


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