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|Pilot 2nd Lt. Maurice C. Matson, O-739818 (MIA / KIA) Sedgwick County, KS
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Emery Muntean Jr. O-809995 (MIA / KIA) Canton, OH
Navigator 2nd Lt. William F. Simson, O-808164 (MIA / KIA) Broome County, NY
Radar Technician Sgt Henry C. Serr, 3726810 (MIA / KIA) Sutton, NB
Crew S/Sgt. Ray W. Covington, 38279175 (MIA / KIA) Oklahoma County, OK
Crew S/Sgt. Charles A. Reynolds, 31087700 (MIA / KIA) Middlesex County, MA
Crew Pfc John O. Mogard, 37547326 (MIA / KIA) MN
Crashed April 15, 1944
Built as a PBY-5A Catalina by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as bureau number ?????. Assigned to the U. S. Army and redesignated OA-10-CO Catalina with serial number ??-????. Flown overseas via Hawaii to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, Headquarters Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On April 15, 1944 took off piloted by 2nd Lt. Maurice C. Matson on a mission to rescue the crew of A-20G Havoc 42-86723 pilot 2nd Lt. James M. Horton and gunner SSgt Alphonse S. Rylko that ditched three days earlier on April 12, 1944 and were in a life raft adrift at sea. While attempting to land, this Catalina impacted tail first and exploded. When this aircraft failed to return, the entire crew was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
After the crash, Horton and Rylko paddled to the crash site but only found charred wreckage and floating life vests. Thirty minutes later, the pair were rescued by a U. S. Navy (USN) PBY-5 Catalina 08283 piloted by Lt(jg) Garrett from VP-34.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Each crew member earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Serr also has a memorial marker at Sutton Cemetery in Sutton, NB at plot 06S-52-04-??.
Covington also has a memorial marker at Fairview Cemetery in Denison, TX.
Mildred McGlothlin (cousin of Henry C. Serr)
Audrey Simson (sister of William F. Simson)
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Maurice C. Matson
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William F. Simson
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Ray W. Covington
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Charles A. Reynolds
No Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) was generated for this loss.
NARA VP-34 War Diary April 1945 page 2 of 5
"15 April  Lieut. (jg) Garrett, plane #66 (08283) stood by at Seleo Island for FAF strike at Tadji. Picked up crew of A-20 thirty-five miles east of Tadji which was forced to crash land at sea, due to damage sustained in strike at Tadji two days [sic, three] previously. U. S. Army OA-10 which had previously attempted to land to pick up this crew crashed and was lost with all hands."
Escape and Evasion Report of 2nd Lt. James M. Horton, 386th Squadron April 18, 1944 via Edward Rogers
"[April 15, 1944] However, shortly afterward a B-25 from the 345th Group circled us. About 5 minutes later 4 P-38's joined the 6-25. The Army "Cat" arrived after approximately 20 minutes had elapsed. It landed approximately S to N 45° to the wind and swells. The plane crashed and burned. We paddled over toward the wreckage as fast as we could to see if we could pick up any survivors; however there were none. All we found was a Mae West and some navigation charts, which we gave to the crew of the "Cat" which rescued us. About halfway to the crash the ammunition began to explode and the B-25 and P-38's buzzed us in an apparent attempt to keep us away from the crashed plane."
The Akron Beacon Journal "Area PBY Pilot Killed Trying Rescue In Pacific" May 23, 1944
"Second Lieut. Emery Muntean, Jr. of 1646 E. Tuscarawas av., Canton, killed in action while on rescue mission in a PBY [OA-10] flying boat near Hollandia on April 15. 'I'm glad I'm saving lives rather than taking them,' Lieutenant Muntean wrote home in his last letter to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Emery Muntean. The young officer had just completed nine rescue missions, although he only arrived In the Pacific on April 3. OHIO STATE STUDENT Lieutenant Muntean was attending Ohio State university school of commerce when he joined the air forces. He is also a graduate of McKinley high school. He leaves, besides his parents, a sister, Mrs. Amelia Worthington of Canton."
Red Bank Register "Lt. W. F. Simson Killed In Action Flyer Grandson of Rumson Resident" May 4, 1944
"Second Lieut. William F. Simson, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Simson of Binghamton, New York, and a grandson of Mrs. Levi B. VanNest of 59 River road, Simson, was killed in action during aerial attacks on Hollandia in New Guinea, according to a telegram received last week by his parents.
The War department message stated he had been killed during combat action over Hollandia April 15. He was a navigator of a Catalina flying boat and was commissioned last summer.
His mother, before her marriage, was Miss Elbie VanNest. He is also survived by a sister, Miss Audrey Simson."
History of 1st Emergency Rescue Squadron - Synopsis of Rescues by 1st Emergency Rescue Squadron [1st ERS] Headquarters and Flight 'C' Ajaccio, Corsica 3 June 1944
"Unsubstantiated word has reached us that a “Cat” piloted by Lieutenant Maurice Matson, with nine men aboard, including Co-Pilot E. Mantean, was shot down [sic] by the Japs last month in the South Pacific Theater. Lieutenant Matson, a classmate of Lieutenant Milburn, who came from a small town near Stafford, Kansas, left a young wife and a seven month old baby."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Maurice C. Matson
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Emery Muntean Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William F. Simson
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Henry C. Serr
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ray W. Covington
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles A. Reynolds
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John O. Mogard
FindAGrave - 2Lt Maurice C Matson (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Emery Muntean, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 2Lt William F Simson (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Henry Clifford Serr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Henry Clifford “Clifford” Serr (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - SSgt Ray W Covington (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Ray Wilkes Covington (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - SSgt Charles A Reynolds (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - PFC John O Mogard (tablets of the missing)
National World War II Memorial - WWII Registry - Henry C. Serr
Henry C. Serr Branch of Service: U.S. Army Hometown: Sutton, Nebraska
Honored By: Miss Mildred McGlothlin, cousin
Activity During WWII: Entered The Service in September, 1942, At time of his death, he was a Radar Operator in South Pacific and his plane was shot down [sic] near [New] Guinea. He was killed on April 15, 1944.
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's pages 95-96
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis
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