GILBERT, JAMES PATRICK, First Lieutenant, # 0-673537, USAAF

 

James P. Gilbert was born in 1915 in New Jersey to William Henry Gilbert (1885-1944) and Ellen (McGonigal) Gilbert (1886-1984). In 1942 his parents lived at274 Sip Ave., Jersey City, New Jersey. Siblings included Helen (Gilbert) Grabler (1908-1991), William Gilbert (1910-1994), and Veronica (Gilbert) Ponzoni (1916-1944).

 

He enlisted in the USAAF on 19 March 1942 in New York City, New York. He began pilot training and was selected to be a navigator on the B-24 bomber. On 20 May 1944, at about 1600 hours, a B-24J, # 42-73317, “Puck” assigned to the 308th Bomb Group, 373rd Bomb Squadron (Heavy), 14th Air Force departed Luichow, China, on a sea sweep combat mission, to land at Yangkai, China. It was speculated that anti-aircraft fire brought it down. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart. A memorial marker is placed in the Fort William McKinley American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines.

AUSTIN, LINUS J., First Lieutenant, # 0-669947, USAAF

 

He was born in June 1919 in Lyon County, Kansas, to Jason Rugg Austin (1875-1951) and Sabra Elizabeth (Whitley) Austin (1877-1964). Siblings included Whitley Austin (1910-1995) and Catherine Whitley Austin (1912-1998). Through the Austin and Messenger ancestors, the family can gain membership in the Sons of the American Revolution. He attended Kansas State Teachers College.

 

After enlistment and initial flight school, he was trained as a bombardier on the B-24, then was sent overseas. On 20 May 1944, at about 1600 hours, a B-24J, # 42-73317, “Puck” assigned to the 308th Bomb Group, 373rd Bomb Squadron (Heavy), 14th Air Force departed Luichow, China, on a sea sweep combat mission, to land at Yangkai, China. It was speculated that anti-aircraft fire brought it down. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart. He survived the crash and, after medical care, returned to duty.

 

His brother, Whitley Austin, born 12 February 1910, attended Emporia State University, and served in the U.S. Army during WW II, beginning 2 October 1942 and was honorably separated 16 February 1946.