42-24366         C47 (MACR 14305)

 

On 19 April 1945, a C-47A, # 43-24366, assigned to Air Transport Command, 1352nd AAF Base Unit, Rescue Squadron, departed the airfield at Mohanbari, India, on a search mission in the area. Last contact was at 0430Z when its radio operator was heard by 1stLt Leroy D. Smith, 0-522363, F/O John E. Wall, T-224318, and PFC Richard L. Whitmer, 36652243. The crewmen, killed in action, were:

 

                                              Pilot                             Capt. Walter J. Clemans                       0-429915

                                              Co-Pilot                       1stLt Michael F. Marcucelli                 0-522797

                                              Radio Operator            TSgt Louis (NMI) Levy                       12194954

 

On 23 April 1945, natives brought a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol and dog tags which belonged to 1stLt. Marcucelli and TSgt Levy to the British Civil Affairs Officer at Ledo, Assam, India. The wreckage of the C-47A was sighted from the air on 21 April 1945 and it resembled the missing C-47. The pilot of that search aircraft was uncertain of the wreckage identity. A ground party led by 1stLt Leroy D. Smith, Operations Officer, from the 1352nd Base Unit, led by natives, started toward the crash scene on 25 April and arrived at the wreckage on 28 April 1945. The wreckage is at coordinates 27º 10’ 30” North & 96º 2’ East. The C-47 crashed into trees at a 60º angle on a Southern heading. The fuselage was demolished but, the wings and tail were fairly intact, sheared from the fuselage. One wing was 200’ from the fuselage and the other was alongside. Facing south, both wings are on the left side. Trees were broken off 3 to 8 feet above the ground. The gas tank exploded. The C-47 burned upon impact. A small area around the C-47 had burned and a burned tree lay across the fuselage. The instrument panel, radio, IFF gear, and engine controls were so badly burned it was impossible to tell anything from them.

 

The crewmen were burned; parts cremated. They were not burned beyond recognition. TSgt. Levy’s body was in the fuselage covered by radio equipment. 1stLt. Marcucelli was thrown clear of the wreckage, about 4 feet in front of TSgt Levy’s body. Captain Clemans’ body was difficult to locate and was under the fuselage. Dog tags were on his body. He was crushed from the waist down and suffered more severe burns. The ground party recovered the remains and returned on 4 May 1945. The remains were buried in the American military cemetery at Ledo, Assam, India.

CLEMANS, WALTER JUNIOR, Captain, # 0-429915, USAAF

 

Walter J. Clemans was born on 9 June 1918 in Lake Arthur, New Mexico, to Walter Noble Clemans (1886-1973) (TX) and Josephine (Liska) Clemans (1888-1952) (Wisc.). Siblings included John Noble Clemans (1912-1989), Charles Liska Clemans (1913-1990), Eleanor May (Clemans) Crownover (1916-2006), Richard Louis Clemans (1925-2012).   His father was an aviation carpenter in 1930. 

 

 

He registered for the WW II draft on 16 October 1940 and described himself as 5’11”, 155 lbs, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF in Texas. He completed flight instruction through advanced schools and was multi-engine rated to fly the C-47 Skytrain. He earned his commission and pilot wings.