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Ensign Samuel Marsh, Jr.
U. S. Navy (USN) Utility Squadron 2 (VJ-2)
Missing In Action (MIA) co-pilot JM-1 Marauder 66617

Background
Samuel Marsh, Jr was born September 16, 1920 in Huntington, West Virginia. His family then moved to East Liverpool, Ohio.

Wartime History
He joined the U. S. Navy (USN). While at a United Service Organizations (USO) club in Minneapolis, Minnesota he met Edith Sonnenschein and soon afterwards proposed to her at Lake of Isles in Minneapolis. On October 1, 1943 the couple married at Pensacola, Florida the same day as his commissioning as an Ensign with serial number O-314914. Next, during November 1943 and December 1943 he was assigned to NAS North Island. Marsh was assigned to Utility Squadron 2 (VJ-2) and send overseas to the South Pacific. In late 1944 based at Pityilu Airfield on Pityilu Island.

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Mission History
On December 29, 1944 Marsh was co-pilot aboard JM-1Marauder 66617 that ditched or crash landed into the sea seven miles off Pityilu Island and was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Relatives
Edith Lange (née Sonnenschein, widow of Marsh):
"I am the widow of the late  Ensign Samuel Marsh, Jr. We met in March 1943. I am Jewish and was in Austria when Hitler invaded on March 12, 1938. I was very lucky and left a year later. I managed to escape Europe aboard the Queen Mary at Cherbourg, France. We entered the United States legally, got an affidavit for help. The mayor of Minneapolis had a round table meeting and and gave my letter to the reformed temple in Minneapolis. During the war, my Rabbi told us we should do something, and I volunteered at the USO, and met Samuel Marsh. We got married October 1, 1943. He was supposed to get the next rank after new years. He died  December 29th 1944 in a plane crash, he was stationed in Pityilu as  copilot  to VJ-2. I was never told anything about his loss. I remember at 7pm a young boy delivered the telegram that will all I was ever told. Years later, I attended a reunion of VJ-2 at San Diego and some of the men told me more about his crash. They said water was in the fuel tank due to the hot tropical climate, and caused it to crash. That was the first I had ever been told. I hope to hear from any survivors of this crash. After the war, I remarried. I  still do volunteering  at Naval medical center  at Balboa in San Diego."

Memorials
Marsh was officially declared dead the day of the mission. As the mission was deemed non-combat, he did not earn the Purple Heart. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. Marsh also has a memorial marker at Riverview Cemetery in East Liverpool, OH.

References
NARA "Utility Squadron Two War Diary December 1944" page 4 "On December 29, JM-1 aircraft bureau number 66617, crashed at sea. The plane, in company with another JM-1 had been engaged in rendering towing services for a fleet unit when one engine failed. While proceeding toward base on one engine, the pilot was unable to maintain his altitude and finally made a forced landing at seas seven (7) miles bearing 050° true from Pityliu Island; cause for the accident is unknown. Of a crew of five persons, one man Wallace Richard Howard, 382 69 58, AO2c(T), U. S. Navy, was rescued. The other four occupants, Lieutenant (jg) R. L. Auer, (A1)L, USNR, (130138), first pilot: Ensign Samuel Marsh, Jr. (A1)L, USNR, (314914), second pilot: Howard Theodore Held, 632 99 83, AMM1c (V-6), USNR, plane captain; Aubrey James Borek, 660 34 87, ARM1c, (V-6), USNR, radioman, were not rescued J2F-6 landed at the crash scene nine minutes after the crash, but only one survivor [Howard] and some debris were still afloat. A thorough search of the vicinity was conducted by one destroyer, one YMS and three crash boats for three hours with negative results."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Samuel Marsh Jr.
FindAGrave - Ens Samuel Marsh, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Ens Samuel Marsh, Jr (memorial maker photo)
Thanks to Edith Lange (widow of Marsh) for additional information



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