THARP, JAMES WARREN, Private First Class, # 18194359, USAAF

 

J. Warren Tharp was born on 18 January 1924 in Oklahoma to Alva Richard Tharp (1890-1960) (KS) and Grace Victorie (Webb) Tharp (1894-1982) (MO) (married 22 November 1917, Vancouver, WA). Siblings were James Roland Tharp (1924-2004). Living with them in 1930 was his maternal grandmother, Cora D. Wright (1866-    ) (MO) (widow).

 

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on 9 December 1942. He was trained to maintain and monitor the mechanical systems (engineer/crew chief) of the C-87 Express Liberator. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 6 June 1945 a C-87, # 43-30610, assigned 10th Air Force, Assam Wing (ATC), Squadron B, 1330th AAF Base Unit, departed the airfield at Jorhat, India, on a cargo mission through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump) to Kunming, China. At about 1515 Zulu, the pilot lost control due to weather (severe icing), which through the C-87 into a spin and a dive and ordered the crew to bail out. The co-pilot and radio operator successfully jumped but, the pilot and crew chief could not and were killed in the fiery and explosive crash near Htawgaw and Lagwi, Burma. Natives found parts of two bodies and buried them near the wreckage. The report by radio operator TSgt Bailey is quite gripping and detail. It is included on the fold3.com MACR web pages for this crash. After recovery, the remains of Montgomery and Tharp were buried in a group ceremony burial in the Fort Smith National Cemetery, Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., Arkansas (Sec. 1, Grave 115).

 

His brother, James R. Tharp, born 18 January 1924, served in the USAAF from 9 December 1942 to 13 November 1945. He died 13 August 2004 and is buried in the Tomkawa IOOF Cemetery, Tonkawa, Kay Co., Oklahoma.