DUGAS, ALBERT JOSEPH, Flight Officer, # T-125793, USAAF

 

Albert J. Dugas was born on 1924 in Slovan, Pennsylvania, to Steve L, Dugas (1892-1972) (Czechoslovakia) and Mary (Hvizdos) Dugas (1897-1985) (PA). Siblings included Mary Josephine (Dugas) Beharry (1916-1972), George Anthony Dugas (1918-2011), Pauline Marie (Dugas) Michalski (1920-1996), Elizabeth Dugas (1922-1923), William Steve Dugas (1925-1998), Edward Dugas (1927-2001), Anthony Joseph Dugas (1929-    ), Steve Dugas (1931-    ), Charles L. Dugas (1932-    ), Theresa J. Dugas (1935-    ), Bernadette Francis (Dugas) Watson (1936-2009). Martha S. (Dugas) Resnik (1937-    ), and Martin T. Dugas (1940-    ).

 

He registered for the WW II draft in 1942, employed by the American Zinc & Chemical Co., and described himself as 5’11”, 170 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. An experienced pilot, he was appointed a Flight Officer and completed advanced instruction flying the B-25 Mitchell. He earned his military pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 10 February 1945, a B-25J, # 43-4086, assigned to 10th Air Force, 341st Bomb Group, 490th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Warazup, Burma, on a bombing and strafing mission to Laihka. After completing its mission and as it was returning to base on one engine, it crashed and the crew was killed; at about 1300 hours near 23º 18’ North & 97º 45’ East. It was last sighted by another B-25 crew which was flying with it as it struggled to return: 1stLt Maurice W. Graves, 0-789445, and 2ndLt William H. Dugan, 0-718895. 2ndLt William H. Dugan, 0-718895, reported: The B-25J lost an engine after the mission. As it flew back at low altitude, another B-25 accompanied it. Some puffs of smoke came off its good engine and they entered some small rain squalls and entered a valley. The stricken B-25 did not reappear. The accompanying B-25 circled and crew saw the B-25 on the ground in a shallow gulley. Two parachutes were about 75 yards away. They circled and did not see signs of life. They dropped food rations and made to photo runs (failed due to bad camera). Search and rescue was given the coordinates and they returned to base. The tail and radio section were damaged so badly no one could escape. The rear emergency escape hatch had been pulled and the hatch could not be found. Two bodies were found 200 yards from the crash with partially opened parachutes. The five man crew were buried in a common grave about 50’ from the crash. Five bodies were exhumed by Graves Registration, four identified by Capt. Frankburg by dental records and then sent to Myitkyina on a C-47 for burial. After recovery from India, his remains were buried in the Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Cemetery, Burgettstown, Washington Co., Pennsylvania.

 

His brother, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Dugas, born 6 July 1918, retired from the U.S. Air Force (starting in the USAAF on 5 November 1941), served for 27 years (WW II, Korea, Vietnam). He died 13 January 2011 and is buried in the Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico (Sec. W3, Grave B84). He was awarded the Bronze Star medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

 

His brother, William S. Dugas, born 22 October 1925, served in the U.S. Navy, # 9233556, from 27 December 1943 to 5 April 1946. He died 21 November 1998 and is buried in the Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Cemetery, Burgettstown, Washington Co., Pennsylvania.

 

His brother, Edward Dugas, born 12 August 1927, served in the U.S. Navy, # 2529653, from 26 October 1945 to 14 February 1946. He died 7 May 2001.