TOMCHECK, DONALD, J., Private First Class, # 39185567, USAAF

 

Donald J. Tomcheck was born on 5 October 1920 in Montana to Steve Joseph Tomcheck (1895-1946) and Alice F. (Sweeney) Tomcheck (1896-1966) (married 30 October 1917, Helena, MT). Siblings included Stanley L. Tomcheck (1919-1975) and Irene Tomcheck (1921-    ).

 

He enlisted in the USAAF on 10 August 1942 in Tacoma, Washington. He was trained in the maintenance and operations of the radio equipment on the USAAF C-87 and other U.S. transports. He was transferred overseas to 10th Air Force in India. On 10 July 1944, a C-87, # 30600, assigned to 10th Air Force, Air Transport Command, 28th Transport Group, 1327th AAF Base Unit, departed the airfield at Tezpur, India, on a cargo mission to Chengtu, China. It went down 20 miles NNW of Kamaing, Burma, along the Mogaung River; 4 miles NE of Warazup, Burma. An hour and 35 minutes from Tezpur, India, bad weather was encountered and icing was on the wings at 18,500 feet. 1stLt Heller took control and descended to 17,500. Turbulence was severe. The gyro went awry and Lt Heller told SSgt Hemler to adjust engine vacuum. The aircraft went into a steep spiral turn. Speed was up to 220 MPH and was leveled out. Speed was reduced to 150 MPH. The compass was at course 270º. Lt. Heller ordered the crew to put on parachutes. The plane went into a right steep spiral and gained speed to 320 MPH. No order to bail out was given. Suddenly Komayati felt a gust of wind and dust and found himself airborne and opened his chute. He saw metal falling around him. He did not know what happened. He landed in swamp about 4 miles NE of Warazup, Burma. An L-5 overflew and spotted him. The L-5 pilot dropped a note that a search party would be sent. He found a C-87 door about 25’ from where he landed. The search of American and Chinese soldiers from Warazup reached him at 1100 hours the next morning. An L-5 flew him from Warazup to Tingkawk Sakan, Burma. A C-47 medical plane flew him to Ledo, India. From Ledo he was flown to Jorhat, India, and then to Tezpur, India. After recovery, his remains were buried in the Resurrection Cemetery in Helena, Montana. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

 

His brother, Stanley L. Tomcheck, born 19 March 1919, served in the U.S. Army as a Private from 29 September 1942 to 7 August 1973. He died 4 January 1975 and is buried in the Resurrection Cemetery, Helena, Montana.