No other crew members escaped the wreckage. When the enemy picked him up, it was after dark. He was unable to walk any longer. They looked at Lt. Huppmann with flashlights. Lt Huppman was about 30-40 feet from where he was, then they covered Lt Huppmann and took MSgt Butcher back to the harbor which they had bombed. If he had a detailed map of the area around the harbor, he believed he could mark the spot when they went down/ He felt sure that the natives would have information as to the burial of the other crew members. Some of the natives spoke English.

 

He wrote to Lt. Col. John J Smith, Chief, Notification Section (Pentagon) from Box 540, Miles City, Montana, on 6 January 1945, and added:

 

Lt. Huppmann, navigator, was the only one I got to shore. I returned to the plane but was unable to get anyone else out because the enemy was strafing the wreckage and I had been hit in the foot. Lt. Huppmann was badly wounded. I saw one other crew member, who I believed was the pilot, Captain Joy. When I got to where he was, he had sank. Lt. Huppmann could not keep himself afloat because of his wounds so I gave him two oxygen bottles to keep himself afloat and made my way to a raft which was drifting away in the wind. The raft was badly torn but I thought I might repair it so tied Lt. Huppman to it and towed both to shore. Iwent back to the plane to see if any more of the crew was alive. When I was about 50 feet from the wreckage I hear enemy pursuit so lay back in the water hoping he wouldn’t see me. He strafed the wreckage three times. On the first pass, one of his bullets hit me in the right foot and almost tore my shoe off. I made my way back to shore without him seeing me. By this time the tide was coming in and had Lt. Huppmann in the water again. I tried to get him up but couldn’t budge him in my weakened condition and it hurt him no matter how I tried to hold him. I then decided to see if I could get native help. Burmese natives were watching us but refused to help because the Japanese would cut their throats or punish them if they helped us. One of the natives spoke a little English. When it was almost dark my wrist watch persuaded them to bring Lt. Huppmann up near where I was. I was exhausted so sat down. I asked one of the natives for water, which he brought.

 

It made me very sick and the reason, I believe, was because I hadn’t eaten since 0600 that morning. I believe the natives reported us to the Japanese because soon after that the Japanese arrived. There were about six of them with flashlights, rifles and bayonets, that came to where I lay. One of them stayed and the rest went to Lt. Huppmann. They looked at him, covered him with a coat or robe and came back for me. They put me in a row boat and they threatened to cut my throat but I was in such a condition that I paid no attention to them. Lt. Huppmann and myself were the only ones that got away from the wreck. I didn’t see him dead but I was the only one that the Japanese took. I never lost consciousness all through it. I know nothing of their burial but I’m sure the natives on the islands know. Knowing the Japanese as I do after twenty months, I doubt if they had any more burial that the natives gave them. Most of the former crew members’ next of kin have already contacted me, including the Huppmanns.