HORNER, JOHN WALTER, Corporal, # 14161110, USAAF


John W. Horner was born on 26 January 1922 in Knox Co., Tennessee, to Charles Nelson Horner (1884-1976) and Nellie Lewis (Keener) Horner (1892-1933). Siblings were Lewis Nelson Horner (1919-2014), Lloyd Jackson Horner (1924-1997), and Elizabeth J. (Horner) Ensor (1927-2007).


He enlisted in the USAAF at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, on 7 November 1942. After enlisting in the USAAF, he was trained to maintain and operate the radio equipment on the Douglas C-47 Skytrain. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 22 April 1945 a C-47A, “The Jerk,” # 43-15789, assigned 10th Air Force, 3rd Combat Cargo Group, 9th Combat Cargo Squadron, Warazup, Burma, departed the airfield at Lashio, Burma, on an evacuation mission. At 0820 IST, the C-47 was about 10 miles from Lashio, Burma, on a course of 360°. The wreckage was found 10 miles from Lashio. The C-47 had crashed and burned. Eight bodies had been found and 6 identified as Chinese and the other 2 as Americans. The 3rd was not yet found and identification issues result in not knowing which American is missing. A crash investigation was begun 25 April 1945. The pilot flew into the mountain with power and on instruments. The C-47 hit with the right wing first and in a 3-4 degree bank. On 1st impact, he lost his right wing, propeller, and tail assembly. The fuselage continued further and inverted about 180 yards from the mountain top. It burned on impact and only covered about 30 square yards. After recovery, the indistinguishable remains of crewmen Albright, Russel, and Horner, were buried in a group ceremony on 23 August 1949 in the Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell, Nebraska (Sec. F, Graves 1226-1227).


His brother, Lloyd J. Horner, born 13 August 1924, served during WWII in the U.S. Army, a Staff Sergeant, from 13 May 1943 to 6 February 1946. He died 12 November 1997 and is buried in the Magnolia Cemetery, Maryville, Blount Co., Tennessee.