42-96559         C46 (MACR 12039)

 

On 7 January 1945, a C-46, # 42-96559, assigned to Air Transport Command, 1337th AAF Base Unit, departed the airfield at Sookerating, India, on a cargo mission to Kunming, China. Its last contact point was check point 205 at about 0822 IST. The crew, killed in action, were:

                                                    Pilot                             F/O John P. Olsen                  T-193106

                                                    Co-Pilot                       1stLt Donald C. Martin           0-692742

                                                    Radio Operator            PFC James P. Zahnen              38284719

The C-46 was challenged with thunderstorms over eastern Burma and the Himalayas (“the Hump”) with moderate rain, snow and icing. Severe turbulence was expected over the first Himalayan ridge.

 

On 21 March 1945, the 1337th AAF Base Unit reported that the unit had received a radiogram from Peoshan stating that the body of F/O John P. Olsen was found at Maliping. Peoshan was instructed to bury F/O Olsen temporarily at Maliping and his personal effects were to be sent to the 1337th AAF BU ASAP. On 7 April 1945, the 1337th AAF BU reported that the remains of F/O Olsen, 1stLt Martin were located and buried in temporary graves at the airfield at Wamati (map coord. 26º 06’ North & 98º 54’ East) by Missionary Peterson.

 

Mr. Guy C. Martin of Martelle, Iowa, wrote the Washington, D.C. Casualty Affairs office asking for further information about his son, 1stLt Martin, and the accident which took his life. The 1337th AAF BU replied to Washington, D.C., that Base Commander Lt.Col. Cassady sent two letters to Mr. Martin about the accident. The Base Chaplain sent a letter as well.

The next-of-kin listed were:

                                                   Olsen               John F. Olsen, F, 6858 Medow Lawn St, Houston, TX

                                                   Martin              Guy C Martin, F, Martelle, Iowa

                                                   Zahnen            Elizabeth Zahnen, M, 1109 N Dallas St, Ennis, TX

OLSEN, JOHN P., Flight Officer, # T-193106, USAAF

 

John Paul Olsen was born on 18 February 1921 in Yoakum, DeWitt Co., Texas to John F. Olsen (1896-1977) and Florence (Dahlgreen) Olsen (1898-1952). A brother was Robert Francis Olsen (1924-1944).

 

He registered for the WW II draft on 16 February 1942, resided at 6658 Meadowlawn Drive, Houston, Texas, employed by the Reed Roller Bit Co., described himself as 5’11”, 155 lbs, with black hair and hazel eyes. He was a trained multi-engine rated pilot and was appointed a Flight Officer and was sent overseas to India. He flew the Curtiss C-46 Commando over the Himalayas (the Hump) to China and back. On 7 January 1945, a C-46, # 42-96559, assigned to Air Transport Command, 1337th AAF Base Unit, departed the airfield at Sookerating, India, on a cargo mission to Kunming, China. Its last contact point was check point 205 at about 0822 IST. The C-46 was challenged with thunderstorms over eastern Burma and the Himalayas (“the Hump”) with moderate rain, snow and icing. Severe turbulence was expected over the first Himalayan ridge. On 21 March 1945, the 1337th AAF Base Unit reported that the unit had received a radiogram from Peoshan stating that the body of F/O John P. Olsen was found at Maliping, China.