WITCHER, MEIL (NMI), Sergeant, # 34446672, USAAF
Meil Witcher was born on 7 October 1920 in Newman, Coweta County, Georgia, to William Brewer Witcher (1885-1955) and Amelia Witcher (1892-1974). Siblings included Charles Brittain Witcher (1912-1983), Harvey North Witcher (1918-2003), and Francis (Witcher) McDowell (1916-2017).
He enlisted at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Georgia, on 10 October 1942, and had completed two years of college. He was selected for training as an armorer and gunner for the B-29 Superfortress. It was as the left waist (blister) gunner he was serving when killed. During 15 to 16 June 1944, a 20th Air Force, 58th Bombardment Wing, 468th Bomb Group, 792nd Bomb Squadron, Kharagpur A.A.B., India, a B-29, # 42-6231, departed the airfield at Pengshan, China, and was lost. The bomber on the Yawata, Japan, raid, crashed into a mountain about 100 miles north of the Pengshan, China. No bombs were found in the wreckage, thus it was returning from its mission when it crashed. The crash occurred 11 miles northeast of Kiangyu, China, on 15 June 1944. The bomber crashed into a sheer cliff and exploded. There were 19 aircraft in the attack on Yawata; 42-6231 was the 17th bomber to depart on the mission. Position reports placed the aircraft well north of the plotted course. The last report was 115 miles northeast of Pengshan. On 20 June 1944, a search party reached the crash wreckage; the Chinese found the radio operator’s log which contained the last three digits of the aircraft number “##-#631. Weather was not a factor in the crash. His remains were recovered in China. Indistiguishable from other crewmen remains, they were buried together in a group (ten remains – Aeh, Akins, Barrett, Gilman, Lund, Mann, Munoz, Pack, Robertson & Witcher) three-casket burial in the Fort Smith National Cemetery, Fort Smith, Arkansas, on 15 September 1949 (Sec. 2, Graves 765 & 766).
His brother, Harvey N. Witcher, born 18 March 1918, enlisted 21 September 1940 at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Georgia, and served in the U.S. Army as a Captain. He died 23 December 2003 and is buried in the Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California (Sec. 55a, Grave 2976).