|Pilot 2nd Lt. Edward F. Barker, O-821440 (MIA / KIA) Herkimer, NY
MIA September 30, 1944 at 10:30am
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in
Evansville, IN. Constructor Number 992. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 1st Composite Fighter Squadron, Combat Replacement Training Center (CRTC School) based at Nadzab Airfield. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine R-2800-63 serial number 42-126318. Weapon .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers left wing: 976962, 988369, 988230, 977340 and right wing: 970398, 976909, 1082466, 970944.
On September 30, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield at 9:30am, along with another P-47 on a high altitude training mission in the local area. This aircraft was last sighted by fellow pilot, 2nd Lt Ellis C. Baker about 20 miles from Finschafen. Lt Baker's aircraft developed turbo trouble and an oil leak, forcing him to break from the formation. He could not contact Lt. Barker on the radio, who was continuing on a heading of 340 degrees. Weather was clear with unlimited visibility locally with high broken overcast beneath the missing plane when last seen.
Afterwards, Baker's P-47 developed an oil leak and he landed safely at Finschafen Airfield for repairs. He took off again and returned to Nadzab Airfield at 4:30pm.
Both P-47s were scheduled to return to Nadzab Airfield at at 11:30am. When both aircraft failed to return by 12:30, their unit FEAF CRTC was notified. Immediately, a B-25 searched the Markham Valley area without results. Afterwards, all available P-47s and P-38s searched the same area without results. All area airfields were checked for information with nil results (in fact P-47 piloted by Baker had landed safely at Finschafen Airfield for repairs) and returned at 4:30pm and reported Barker as Missing In Action (MIA).
This P-47 crashed at 6,000' elevation in the Kua Valley near Pindui.
During 1962, U. S. Army search mission "2-1962" located and identified the crash site, but the team failed to locate any remains of the pilot, who is assumed to have bailed out prior to the crash. Afterwards, Barker was deemed non-recoverable.
During January 22-25, 2002, a team from US Army CILHI returned to the crash site on a survey mission, but found no remains.
During late 2012, a team from JPAC excavated the site. The team recovered human remains, aircraft wreckage, military gear and personal effects.
Recovery of Remains
After the recovery of remains in late 2012, JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools including mitochondrial DNA, which matched his niece and nephew. On January 27, 2015 The remains were positively identified. On July 23, 2015 the Department of Defense (DoD) announced Barker was identified by the efforts of DPAA. His dog tags, class ring from Craig Field and pilot's wings were recovered from the crash site and returned to the family.
Barker was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. After his remains were identified, Barker was buried on August 1, 2015 at Calvary Cemetery in Herkimer, NY.
Marie Shoemaker (sister, deceased)
Daryl Frey (niece)
Mark Shoemaker (nephew)
Kristopher Shoemaker (nephew)
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Edward F. Barker
Missing Air Crew Report 9018 (MACR 9018)
Newspaper Article "Mohawk Fighter Plane Pilot Lost While on Flight Over New Guinea"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) -
Edward F. Barker "2LT Barker's remains have been recovered and identified in 2015"
FindAGrave - 2Lt Edward F Barker (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Edward F Barker (Calvary Cemetery)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-47D Thunderbolt 42-23241
DPAA "Airman Missing From WWII Accounted For (Barker)" July 23, 2015
The Telegram Obituary – Lieutenant Edward F. Barker July 27, 2015
Fenner Funeral Home – Lt. Edward F. Barker
AP "WWII pilot's remains to arrive in his NY hometown for burial" July 29, 2015
WKTV "WWII fighter pilot's remains identified as Herkimer native" by Kristen Copeland Jul. 23, 2015
WKTV "Lt. Edward Barker finally laid to rest in Herkimer today" by Skyler Srivastava Aug. 1, 2015
Mark Shoemaker for additional information and Kenneth Wilson for constructor number
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February 4, 2018