MARTIN, DONALD C., First Lieutenant, # 0-692742, USAAF
Donald C. Martin was born on 19 July 1922 in Deloit, Iowa, to Guy C. Martin and Marion Helen (Hedges) Martin (1895-1981) (VA). Siblings included Helen Albertine (Martin) Fink nee Nirenberg (1917-2009), Dorothy E. Martin (1921- ). He was married to Avis Lavonne (Armstrong) Martin (1924-1955), Martelle, Jones Co., Iowa, on 10 April 1943 in Kay, Oklahoma. His father was a bank cashier in 1940.
He entered the USAAF on 1 October 1943. He completed aviation training through advanced flights schools and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India on about 24 October 1944. 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. 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. His remains are buried in or a memorial marker was placed in the Norwich Cemetery, Martelle, Iowa (Sec. South, Row 8).
ZAHNEN, JAMES PETER, Private First Class, # 38284719, USAAF
James P. Zahnen was born on 11 March 1921 in Woodward, Woodward Co., Oklahoma, to Matthew James Zahnen (1883- ) (St. Mark, Sedo Co., KS) and Elizabeth (Goerlitz) Zahnen (1890- ) (TX) (married in 1910, Williamson Co., TX). A sister was Cecilia (Zahnen) McDonald (1917-1968). His family was living with the McDonald family in 1940. He had a nephew, Roy David McDonald (1933- ).
He registered for the WW II draft on 16 February 1942, resided at 2524 Grand Ave., Ennis, Texas, employed by the Forest Avenue Pharmacy, Ennis, Texas, described himself as 6’1 ½”, 174 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF in Dallas, Texas, on 31 October 1942. He was trained in the maintenance and operation of the radio equipment on the Curtiss C-46 Commando. 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.