|Cropping of crew list from MACR 4882|
The story is interesting to me in several respects. First is the family connection to the famous Merrill's Marauders, which was a special forces unit during World War II and is connected to today's US Army Rangers. The story of the aircraft being found over 40 years later is also amazing to me. Another twist of fate is that the aircraft was lost on May 22, 1944, which was also Vilas's birthday.
|A C-47 drops rations in Burma in 1944|
Click read more to see the documents I received...
The missing Air Crew Report tells the story of the loss of the aircraft. They departed Dinjan, Assam, India on a 140 degree heading, southeast bound for Myitkyina, Burma on an air resupply mission aboard a C-47, serial number 41-38709. 2nd Lt. Earnest R. Wilson was the pilot, flight officer Andrew Malligo was the copilot and Sgt. Allen W. Beeler was the radio operator. The flight also included four drop crew members, S/Sgt Vilas D. Parker, Pfc Howard K. Moss, Pfc Benjamin J. Moss and Pfc Walter B. Owensby. The conditions at the time of the accident were instrument flight rules with ceiling zero and visibility zero, so the weather was very bad. The C-47 was last contacted by radio was on May 22, 1944 at 0716 India Standard Time by S/Sgt William R. Chattin. The aircraft was said to be at position N26°06' E096°46' in the Kachin Hills of northern Burma. Search and rescue was attempted, but without success. The Marauders had only taken Myitkyina airfield a few days earlier on May 17th, 1944.
You can click through to Flickr and see enlarged versions of these documents.
|Crew List with next of kin|
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A map of northern Burma showing the approximate crash location, indicated by a green arrow.
Updated to fix 2nd cousin error. He was the 1st cousin of my grandfather, which makes him my 1st cousin but twice removed. Sorry about that.