THURSTON, CHARLES HENRY, Corporal, # 34792418, USAAF
Charles H. Thurston was born n 29 April 1925 in Sanford, Seminole Co., Florida to Henry Johnson Thurston (1895-1956) (NJ) and Emmeline Mabel (Burdge) Thurston (1900-1971) (NJ). Siblings included Herbert Alexander Thurston (1919-2012) and Emmeline Mabel (Thurston) Ticconi nee Best (1923- ). In 1940 the Thurston family lived in Lake Monroe, Seminole County, Florida. In the 1943 Seminole High School graduate page depicting him, his chosen quotation was, “If worry is the only cause of death, Then I would live forever.” He was married to Tommie C Thurston, 404 Back Bay Blvd, Wichita, Kansas.
He registered for the WW II draft on 29 April 1943 and described himself as 5’9”, 150 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. He enlisted at Camp Blanding, Florida, on 27 August 1943. After enlisting, he was trained in the maintenance and operation of the .50 caliber machiguns on the B-29 Superfortress and earned his crewman wings. On his first combat mission on 7 December 1944, he served as the right waist gunner of the B-29. On 7 December 1944, a B-29, # 42-6262, named “Round Trip Ticket,” assigned to 20th Air Force, Duchkundi, India, 444th Bomb Group, 678th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Kwanghan, China, on a combat mission, to Mukden, Manchuria. It was last sighted at 0330 Zulu at about 38º North, 118º East, after being attacked by an enemy fighter, dropping out of formation, and losing altitude until others in the formation could no longer see the aircraft. The crew was killed in the subsequent crash. After his remains were recovered, he was buried in the Oaklawn Memorial Park, Lake Mary, Florida. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.
His brother, Herbert A. Thurston, born on 18 September 1919, enlisted at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on 7 June 1941, as a Private First Class, and a former National Guardsman.