After enlisting in the USAAF, he was trained to maintain and monitor the mechanical systems (crew chief) of the Curtiss C-46 Commando. He earned his crewmanwings. He was sent overseas to India. On 7 August 1943 a C-46 Commando, # 41-5204, assigned to 10th Air Force, 1st Transport Group, 6th Transport Squadron, Monhanbari, India, departed the airfield on a cargo mission to Yang Kai, China, through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). An engine failed and it crashed in the north end of the Chindwin Valley, Burma (northeastern Burma, near India). He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal. He is memorialized on the tablets of the Monument to Aviation Martyrs, Nanjing Memorial, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.

 

His father was a survivor of the fire on the U.S.S. Wakefield (AP-21) on 3 September 1942 which broke out deep within the bowels of the ship and spread rapidly. In the port column of the formation, Wakefield swung to port to run before the wind while fire-fighting began immediately. Ready service ammunition was thrown overboard to prevent detonation, code room publications were secured, and sick bay and brig inmates were released. Mayo (DD-422) and

 Brooklyn (CL-40) closed to windward to take off passengers, a badly-burned officer, and members of the crew not needed to man pumps and hoses. Other survivors were disembarked by boat and raft, to be picked up forthwith by the screening ships. At 2100, Brooklyn again came alongside to remove the remainder of the crew, while a special salvage detail boarded the ship. On 5 September 1942, towing operations commenced led by the Canadian salvage vessel Foundation Franklin and the big transport was put aground at McNab's Cove, near Halifax, at 1740 on the 8th. When fire-fighting details arrived alongside to board and commence the mammoth operation, fires still burned in three holds and in the crew's quarters on two deck levels. Four days later, the last flames had been extinguished, and the ship was re-floated on the 14th. While Wakefield was undergoing partial repairs in Halifax harbor, a torrential rainstorm threatened to fill the damaged ship with water and capsize her at her berth. Torrents of rain, at times in cloudburst proportions, poured into the ship and caused her to list heavily. Salvage crews, meanwhile, cut holes in the ship's sides above the waterline, draining away the water to permit the ship to regain an even keel. For the next 10 days, the salvagers engaged in extensive initial repair work – cleaning up the ship, pumping out debris, patching up holes, and preparing the vessel for her voyage to the Boston Navy Yard for complete rebuilding.

USS Wakefield