42-72418         MACR 13082

 

On 17 March 1945 a Douglas C-54 Skymaster, # 42-72418, assigned to 10th Air Force, 1345th AAF Base Unit, Kurmitola, India, departed the airfield at Chanyi, China, on a return flight to Kurmitola through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). The crew was:

                                         Pilot                             Capt. Richard A. Harris Jr.                   0-428670

                                         Co-Pilot                       1stLt Jerome L. Olson                         0-665102

                                         Radio Operator            Pvt James M. Rosno                            37262899

                                         Crew Chief                  TSgt Henry E. Peavy                           37131203

On 3 June 1945, the 1345th AAF Base Unit, Bengel, reported that the crew was killed in action. The Mohanbari Search & Rescue Squadron said that a ground search party located the wreckage of the C-54 and the remains of what appeared to be three bodies. Natives reported no survivors. Evidence was found identifying Capt. Harris. The C-54 crashed into the mountainside near Tengchung, China. Engines were buried three feet in the ground by the impact and wreckage was strewn over a 500 yard area. Remains were buried at the wreckage site.

The next-of-kin listed were:

                                          Harris              Eulalie C. Harris, M, 908 N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA

                                          Olson              Margaret M. Olson, M, 1103 Illinois St., Urbana, IL

                                          Peavy               William J. Peavy, F, 300 W. Main St., Malden, MO

                                          Rosno              Rose E. Rosno, M, Mt. Angel, OR

HARRIS, RICHARD ALEXANDER, JR., Captain, # 0-428670, USAAF

 

Richard A. Harris Jr. was born on 6 November 1914 in Valdosta, Georgia to Richard A. Harris (1876-1946) (NC) and Eulalie Lang (Converse) Harris (1893-1970) (GA) (married 21 July 1912, Lowndes, GA). Siblings were Eulalie (Harris) Pickett (1913-1991). Living with them in 1930 was his maternal grandmother, Eula Converse (1867-    ) (widowed). In 1930 his father worked for a clothing business. Direct descendants of Eulalie Converse Harris can apply for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR # 101151) due to ancestor Amasa Converse (1750-1826), Lieutenant in Capt. John Cole’s Company, Col. Benjamin Simonds’ Massachusetts Regiment. Richard A. Harris Jr. graduated in 1936 from UNC, Valdosta, GA, with a B.S. in Communications. He was a member of the Order of Minotaurs, the Order of Gimghouls, and was captain of the gold team.

 

He registered for the WWII draft on 16 October 1940, resided in Orlando, Orange Co., Florida, employed by the Southern States Iron Roofing Co., Orlando, FL, and described himself as 5’10 ½”, 145 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF as an aviation cadet at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Georgia, on 15 March 1941. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced schools and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 17 March 1945 a Douglas C-54 Skymaster, # 42-72418, assigned to 10th Air Force, 1345th AAF Base Unit, Kurmitola, India, departed the airfield at Chanyi, China, on a return flight to Kurmitola through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). On 3 June 1945, the 1345th AAF Base Unit, Bengel, reported that the crew was killed in action. The Mohanbari Search & Rescue Squadron said that a ground search party located the wreckage of the C-54 and the remains of what appeared to be three bodies. Natives reported no survivors. Evidence was found identifying Capt. Harris. The C-54 crashed into the mountainside near Tengchung, China. Engines were buried three feet in the ground by the impact and wreckage was strewn over a 500-yard area.