41-24688         C-46

 

On 28 March 1944 a Curtiss C-46 Commando, # 41-24688, assigned to 10th Air Force, Station 7 (930th Ferrying Squadron), at Sookerating, India, departed Kunming, China, returning to Sookerating, India, through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). The last radio contact was at about 0030 India ST and the radio operated asked for a course bearing. The crew was:

 

Pilot                             1stLt Douglas R. Wight                       0-793471

Co-Pilot                       2ndLt Herbert W. Evans                     0-740778

Crew Chief                  Cpl John W. Hanlon                            38269554

Radio Operator            PFC Gerard L. Rugers Jr.                     39180415

 

The next-of-kin listed were:

 

Evans              Carados A. Evans, F, 911 Fairview St., Rapid City, SD

Wight               Thomas A. Wight Jr., B, Westfield, NJ

Hanlon            Gertrude Hanlon, M, Rte 1, Arnett, OK

Rugers             Colette Rugers, M, 917 S. 15th St., Tacoma, WA

WIGHT, DOUGLAS R., Captain, # 0-793471, USAAF

 

Douglas R. Wight was born on 2 November 1917 in Union Co., New Jersey to Thomas H. Wight (1882-    ) and Helen Mae (Mathison) Wight (1892-    ). Siblings included Thomas Herbert Wight Jr. (1911-2002), Ruth Agnes (Wight) Dietz (1913-2004), Philip Gordon Wight (1923-    ), and Donald A. Wight (1931-    ). He attended Westfield High School, Rutgers University and Columbia University, receiving a B.S. degree in 1939. His father attended Union University and was a lawyer.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in Newark, New Jersey, on 13 January 1942 as an aviation cadet. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced schools and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings at Moody Field, Valdista, Georgia, in November 1942. He trained at Maxwell Field, Alabama, Arcadia, Florida. and 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). 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. 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). He was awarded the Air Medal posthumously to his mother. He was awarded the Air Medal for 150 flight hours as a C-46 pilot from 16 January 1943 to 22 January 1944 and received a Presidential Unit award and an award from the Chinese government.

 

His brother, Philip G. Wight, inducted 27 January 1943 into the USAAF, completed Radio School in South Dakota, Sergeant, and served as a radio operator and waist gunner on the B-17 based in England.