WITTE, ROBERT W., Technical Sergeant, # 19059282, USAAF
Robert W. Witte was born 20 November 1920 n Washington to John Keith Witte (1896-1953) and Vona Pearl (Tuttle) Smith nee Witte (1901-1990). He had a brother, John K. Witte, Jr., (1918-1947). His family lived at 1017 South 28th Ave., Yakima, WA, in 1942. He enlisted in the USAAF 29 November 1941 in Seattle, Washington. On 14 October 1943, at 1245 hours, the B-24D, # 41-24220, upon which he was radio operator gunner, assigned to the 7th Bomb Group, 493rd Bomb Squadron, departed Pandaveswar, India, on a bombing mission to Rangoon, Burma. Weather was reported as scattered cumulus clouds at 12,000 feet, 40% coverage, slight haze, good weather. It was shot down by enemy aircraft and was said to have gone down “blazing.” The enemy attacked and the bomb bay was hit and a fire erupted. The aircraft separated in the middle and disintegrated. Five crew perished and five survived in the POW prison at the Rangoon Cantonment (former British prison), Burma. His remains were recovered and he was buried 9 September 1949 in a single-casket service with his four other crew members who were killed in action (Sawyer, Chiarello, Marshall and Peters) at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri. The family placed a memorial marker in Terrace Heights Memorial Park, Yakima, Washington.
Brother Keith J. Witte Jr., served during WW II as well. He enlisted in the USAAF on 20 December 1943 at Fort Douglas, Utah, service # 39468875, as a Private. Sadly, he died 4 June 1947 from skull fractures he suffered on a farm in Sprague, Washington. He was a pilot for Central Aircraft. He is buried in Terrace Heights Memorial Park with their parents.
His father registered for the WW I draft on 5 June 1917, at age 21, while living in Wenatchee, RFD 3, WA, where he was born. He served in WW I, in the U.S.M.C., as a Private. Interestingly, his father, John H. Witte (1871-1937), was born in Germany, immigrated in 1875. His GM was Maude Elizabeth Johnson, and they married 26 Jan., 1895. GF John H. Witte was naturalized 2 September 1900, in Douglas Co., Washington.