STAFNEY, ELDRED WAYNE, Staff Sergeant, # 37281162, USAAF

 

Eldred W. Stafney was born 1921 in North Dakota to Jalmer Bernard Stafney (1898-1990) and Clara Lev (Nelson) Stafney (1898-1986) (married 6 January 1919, Fargo, Cass Co., ND). Siblings were Jalmer B. Stafney Jr. (1937-    ) and Donald N. Stafney (1938-    ). He was married to Hyacinth Gerine (Wiemals) Bandy nee Stafney (1923-1946) on 31 December 1942 in Pueblo, Colorado.

 

After enlisting in the USAAF, he was trained to maintain and shoot the .50 caliber machineguns and the other weapons (armorer-gunner) on the B-24 Liberator. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India and China. On 15 September 1943 a B-24J Liberator, “Daisy May,” # 41-24218, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 373rd Bomb Squadron, Yangkai, China, departed the airfield to bomb Haiphong, French Indochina (Annam or Vietnam). The flight of five of seven B-24s (two were unable to take off) were to bomb the cement plant. Planners were unaware of enemy fighters that had been brought in and were nearby. The B-25s had no fighter cover and were attacked by about 50 enemy fighters over Haiphong at about 8,000’ altitude. A crew reported that they saw 41-24218 going down in a spin, its bomb bay door close, and no parachutes were seen. Capt. Don B. Smith, 0-793188 reported that he saw the B-24 flip inverted and crash into the Gulf of Tonkin. There was an explosion when it impacted the water. The body of TSgt Pershke was recovered by French who saw the crash. The rest of the formation parted and dropped their bombs in the Gulf of Tonkin to improve their chances of escaping the many enemy fighters. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.