GROFF, GAYLORD GEORGE, First Lieutenant, # 0-794400, USAAF
Gaylord G. Groff was born on 29 June 1920, Wood Co., Ohio, to Loren Edward Groff (1889-1978) and Gladys Hazel (Hock) Groff (1893-1971). Siblings included Carrol Edward Groff (1918-1918), Carmen Azora (Groff) Fletcher (1922-1991). He attended Bowling Green State University.
He enlisted in the USAAF at Baer Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana, on 7 January 1942. He completed flight instruction through advanced schools and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 27 March 1944, a B-25D, # 43-3616, assigned to 10th Air Force, 341st Bomb Group, 490th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Kurmitola, India, on a medium altitude combat mission over Wuntho, Burma. It was seen to have been hit by enemy fire and crashed at 1115 hours near 23º 21’ North & 95º 31’ East. The witnesses to the crash were 1stLt George F. Smith, 0-793448, and 1stLt Lawrence E. Williams, 0-733502. 1stLt Williams and 1stLt Smith reported that the B-25s were on a strafing mission south along the railroad from Wuntho to Kanbala. The B-25, 43-3616, was smoking lightly from the right erngine before it made a strafing pass on the town of Thitabiyn, then made a controlled right turn. It then went into a glide west at about 300’-500’ and the right engine burst into flames just before the B-25 hit the ground. It crashed near the above coordinateds. There was a terrific explosion when it crashed and the whole B-25 burst into flames with black smoke. Their B-25 turned to a 290º heading and before they were out of sight, the flames died away but they could not see any debris. An attached map showed the crashed B-25 on the west side of the railroad, west of Thitabiyn. After recovery of the indistingui-shable remains of most of the crew (Gillooly, Groff, Hampson, Pryor & Wright) from the American military airfield cemetery at Barrackpore, India, burial was in a common grave in the Fort Scott National Cemetery, Fort Scott, Kansas, on 17 November 1949 (Sec. 2, Grave 1611/12 – 3 caskets). The family placed a memorial marker in the New Weston Cemetery, Weston, Wood Co., Ohio,