STEPHENS, JACK CEDRIC, Private, # 38335390, USAAF

 

Jack C. Stephens was born on 5 May 1914 in Idaho to Ralph Edward Stephens (1891-1962) (TN) and Lulu Gladys (Starnes) Stephens (1893-1976) (AR) (married 22 June 1913 in Bingham, Idaho). A sister was Anita Zelgara (Stephens) Petersen (1919-1980) (ID). He was married to Dorothy Viola (Rood) Stephens (1919-2005) (married 31 December 1939, Coos Co., OR). The 1940 census shows the extended family resided in Englewood, Coos Co., Oregon. He worked as a butcher and Dorothy was a waitress. In 1920 his father worked in a copper mine.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF on 9 July 1943 and was trained at the Quartermaster School, Quarter-master Headquarters, Fort Lee, Virginia, in supply of necessities by truck and aircraft. He was sent overseas to 10th Air Force in India and assigned to the USAAF Quartermaster 5331st Air Supply Dropping Unit. An amazing amount of supply of food, clothing, daily necessities, firearms, and ammunition was in storage sites in India. As the allied forces fought the Japanese in India, Burma, and the Southeast Asia countries of Siam (Thailand), Laos, Cambodia, and Annam (Vietnam), supply was moved forward by truck, air drops, and airfield sites. On 1 September 1944, a C-47, # 43-15802, assigned to 10th Air Force, 3rd Combat Cargo Group, 11th Combat Cargo Squadron, departed the airfield at Dinjan, India, on a food supply drop mission in Burma, to return to Dinjan airfield. It was last contacted by radio 30 minutes from Dinjan airfield. Its crash was deemed a battle casualty. The 11th Combat Cargo Squadron, had no information to add to the MACR and 1352nd AAF Base Unit had none. The crash location was not found. Searches along the flight route saw several aircraft wrecks that were not identifiable from the air. Extensive search failed to locate the C-47A. Search and rescue aircraft flew the probable routes and adjacent areas for ten months to no avail. The Burmese natives of the area are extremely cooperative and no report has been received from them. His remains were recovered from the crash site, buried in India, then repatriated to be buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, California (Sec. N, Grave 2229). He was awarded the Air Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster (2nd award) and the Purple Heart.