RUGERS, GERARD LAMBERT HENRY, JR., Private First Class, # 39180415, USAAF

 

Gerard L.H. Rugers Jr. was born on 31 August 1919 in Tacoma, Pierce Co., Washington to Gerard Lambertus Henricus Rugers (1881-1955) (Holland – naturalized) and Minnie Collette (Hendrick) Rugers (1889-1960) (Michigan). Siblings included Mary M. Rugers (1908-1997), Anna Louise (Rugers) Jones (1909-1991), Margaret Mary Rugers (1911-2002), Minnie Elizabeth “Batty” (Rugers) McCausland (1913-2001), Joseph Ignatius Rugers (1916-1990), Frances Gertrude (Rugers) Lusier (1918-2006), His father taught music in 1920-1930 and owned a piano business. He supervised music instruction for the W.P.A. in 1940.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in Tacoma, Washington, on 4 May 1942.He was trained to maintain and operate the radio equipment on the C-46 Commando and earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 28 March 1944 a Curtiss C-46 Commando, # 41-24688, assigned to 10th Air Force, Station 7, at Sookerating, India, departed Kunming, China, returning to Sookerating, India, through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). He was the radio operator. The last radio contact was at about 0030 India ST and the radio operated asked for a course bearing, indicating they needed to verify their location in flight and were likely flying IFR (Instrument Flight Rules – no visibility). They are remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial Philippines. The remains of the crew were recovered, indistinguishable, and were buried in a group ceremony and grave in the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, in 9 May 2006 (Sec. 60, Grave 8249). A marker was placed in the Calvary Cemetery, Tacoma, Pierce Co., Washington.

 

His brother, Joseph I. Rugers, born 27 February 1916, served in the U.S. Army from 31 January 1944 to 5 May 1946. He died 10 October 1990 in Washington.