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17th Pursuit Squadron
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Earl R. Stone, Jr., O-390872 (MIA / KIA, BNR) Los Angeles, CA
Crashed February 9, 1942
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-40E Warhawk serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the Philippines and reassembled.
Assigned to the Far East Air Force (FEAF), 24th Pursuit Group (24th PG), 17th Pursuit Squadron (17th PS). No known nickname or nose art. This P-40 was flown in the defense of the Philippines between December 1941 until lost on February 9, 1942. When lost, engine serial number unknown. Armed with six .50 caliber machine guns makers and serial numbers unknown.
On February 9, 1942 at 1:00pm took off from Bataan Field piloted by 2nd Lt. Earl R. Stone, Jr. as the wingman of flight leader Ben Brown, on an mission to a escort a Boeing Stearman Model 75 biplane piloted by Jesus Villamor to photograph the Ternate area from an altitude of 17,000'. Both P-40s were assigned fly top cover. During the mission, the Allied formation was spotted by a Ki-46 Dinah over Limay.
Over the Bataan Peninsula, six Ki-27 Nates intercepted the formation and a dog fight began between the fighter aircraft. During the combat, Lt. Stone chased Ki-27 Nate pilot Kurosawa. On the ground at Mariveles, an eye witness reported a Japanese fighter chasing a P-40 overhead and gaining on it. The two went in and out of clouds around Mount Mariveles, then an explosion was heard. Afterwards, both Ki-27 Nate pilot Kurosawa and P-40E Warhawk pilot Lt. Stone failed to return.
Spike Nasmyth adds:
"This eye witness was was at least 6 miles away from the fight so how could he tell who was behind who. None of the other pilots in the fight said anything about a Nate chasing Stone, all of them did say one thing, Stone was a hell of a pilot. I believe he had the [Ki-27 Nate] in his sights and was blasting away. He finished off the Nate and didn't have room to pull out."
In February 2007, the wreckage of the Ki-27 Nate piloted by Kurosawa on Mount Mariveles was located by a team including Spike Nasmyth, Brad Blythe, Kevin Hamdorf and Filipinos who hoped to find Stone's P-40 crash site nearby.
Spike Nasmyth noted in 2007:
"It was our team that found the Type-97 [Nate]. We were hopeful the wreckage was [P-40 pilot] Lt. Earl Stone, but as soon as the radial engine was found we knew it was the Nate."
During February 2008, the team continued to search for Stone's P-40 in the same vicinity, without results.
During February 2009, Filipinos discovered wreckage on the same ridge, at roughly 600' lower elevation from Ki-27 Nate piloted by Kurosawa crash site. They discovered part of the Allison engine and began searching. Soon, they also discovered an aluminum ammunition chute from a P-40E Warhawk, .50 caliber ammunition and other wreckage. Immediately, in February 2009 the crash site was reported to JPAC.
Stone was officially declared dead the day of the mission and remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA). He earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart, posthumously.
Stone is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. He also has a memorial at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale) in Glendale, CA at plot GM, Memorial Terrace, Columbarium of Memory, Lot 0, Space 20351.
Wes Stone (brother of Stone)
Elizabeth Stone Moore (niece of Stone)
"My father, Earl's brother, is 95 years old. Any assistance would be welcome."
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Earl R. Stone
Los Angeles Times "Angeleno Pilot Bags Jap Trio Before Being Killed - Earl Stone Jr. Dies in Bataan Parents Told"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Earl R. Stone, Jr.
FindAGrave - 2Lt Earl Reynolds Stone, Jr (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Lieut Earl R. Stone, III (photos, memorial marker photo)
Doomed from the Start (1995) pages 310-314, 461
Search & Recovery Mission - May 2008 Update by Kevin Hamdorf
Thanks to Elizabeth Stone and William Bartsch for additional information
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