42-83920         A36

 

WALKER, STEWART BURGESS, Second Lieutenant, # 0-687461

 

On 15 February 1944, an A36-A-1 (the Apache - attack/bomb version of P-51 Mustang) of the 311th Fighter-Bomber Group, 528th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, departed the 10th Air Force air base at Sookerating, India, on a combat mission to bomb and strafe the enemy at Kaimaing, Burma, suffered engine damage from enemy fire about 20 miles west of Taro near the Chindwin River 2 miles east of the river and about 2.25 miles NE of Nhgbau Ga village. Three other fighter-bomber pilots flying the A36-A-1 (modified P-51-A Mustang) saw the crash: Capt. James J. England, 0-662903; 2ndLt Paul L. Lucier, 0-800004, and 2ndLt Ronald W. Rushby, 0-800597. A parachute was used. 311th Group commander – Col. Charles G. Chandler, 528th Squadron commander – Maj. Alexander.

 

 2ndLt Lucier reported: He heard something on the radio and saw the A-36-A-1 below him with white smoke pouring from the engine cowling, losing altitude and speed. Walker asked them to stay with him and said he would bail out (0940 hours). He saw the parachute open and the aircraft went into a dive and crashed. Walker landed in the trees and disappeared from view. 2ndLt Rushby reported: They had dropped their bombs and gained altitude when Walker called on the radio and said he was hit and heading back to base. He saw Walker’s aircraft low and just past the target and at slow speed, which made him believe that Walker was hit during the first strafing pass. The flight of four lost altitude and began escorting Walker. Walker was trailing a white vapor. It became heavier and turned to heavy smoke. Walker was directed to head NE but he made no turn and continued NW. The smoke thickened and he believed the aircraft was on fire when Walker bailed out at map coordinates LQ 00-00. Capt. England reported: He noticed one of the A-36 aircraft was tailing a vapor stream. Walker called and said he had a coolant leak and was returning to base. He was directed to try and make Taihpa Ga landing strip. Walker started North following the road, streaming vapor. Capt. England directed him to head NE. Walker turned NW. Capt. England flew along side and waved in the NE direction but Walker continued NW. NE would take him into friendly territory. After about 10 minutes flying NW his engine began to burn. Walker trimmed his A-36 nicely then bailed out. The aircraft made a slight left turn and hit the ground and burned. Walker floated 1 or 2 minutes then disappeared from view. At 1330 hours, Capt. England took off from his base flying a P-40 (Curtiss Aircraft – P-40 Warhawk) on a search mission. Another P-40 had a canister attached to his aircraft which contained food, blankets, etc. The canister was dropped near the crashed A-36 and he and others circled several times but did not see Walker. They saw no activity and returned to base. 2ndLt Walker was eventually liberated in early May 1945and interviewed. He said he was over the target at about 0955 hours when he left the formation. The aircraft crashed NW of the target. He bailed out.

Stewart B. Walker (1920-1972) was born on 10 September 1920 in Los Angeles, California, to James Oscar Walker (1892-1974) (CO) and Martha (Burgess) Walker (1891-    ) (Scotland) (married 26 November 1919 in Pima Co., Arizona). He was married to Shirley A. Cross on 9 March 1946 in Fort George Wright, Spokane, Washington. He registered for the WW II draft on 14 February 1942 while living in Saugus, California. He worked for the L.A. Dept. of Water & Power. He described himself as 5’5”, 135 lbs, with brown hair and hazel eyes.