After he enlisted in the USAAF, he completed navigator school and advanced training for the B-25 Mitchell. He earned his commission and crewman wings. He was sent overseas through India to China. On 30 May 1945 a B-25J, # 43-27810, assigned 14th Air Force, 341st Bomb Group, 490th Bomb Squadron, Hengchung, China, departed the airfield on a low-level bombing and strafing mission over the Sincheng railroad bridge. It was seen to crash by 2ndLt Frank D. Browning, 0-716339, at about 1140 Zulu 1 mile south of the Sincheng railroad yards (34° 13’ North & 113° 48’ East). 2ndLt Browning reported that he was navigator on another B-25 (tail # 588), was about 4-5 miles north of the target. B-25 tail # 810 had dropped his bombs. Saw him strafing a line of 12-15 railroad cars in the railyard, several miles north of Quang Tri. He completed the run, turned left, leveled out and flew straight then went into the ground at about 1145 hrs Zulu 1-2 miles southeast of the line of railroad cars. The B-25 slid along the ground. He saw no damage to the B-25 before he hit the ground. Stayed overhead to 1200 hrs but could not see the B-25 again. 1stLt John Thomson, 0-700821, reported on return from a mission on 31 May 1945, searched where 43-27810 was reported down. Found the B-25 at 1115 hours Zulu at 34° 22’ North & 113° 46’ East. He was at 6,000’ and took photographs. The B-25 was about 1,500’ east of the Sincheng, Vietnam, railroad yards, lying north of a row of trees on the edge of a gully. The B-25 was severely damaged, fuselage visible and faces north. The wings and engine nacelles appear destroyed and considerable wreckage is strewn about. It appears that the B-25 slid on its belly from the southwest to where it stopped. There were no visible signs of activity at the wreckage. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

 

His brother, Raymond J. Durkee, born 27 February 1923, served in three of our services: (1) the U.S. Navy from 31 March 1942 to 18 January 1947, (2) the U.S. Army from 13 October 1949 to 13 June 1955, and (3) the USAF, Master Seergeant, from 6 January 1956 to 31 October 1965 and served during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He died 21 January 2008 and is buried in the Union Memory Garden, Blairsville, Union Co., Georgia.

 

His brother, Leon Carl Durkee, born 14 January 1926, served in the USAAF from 15 February 1944 to 12 May 1946 and in the USAF, Senior Master Sergeant, from 21 January 1947 to 31 October 1964. He died 24 May 2009 and is buried in the Oakdale Cemetery, Middleton, Essex Co., Massachusetts.