43-4216

 

On 18 March 1944, a B-25H, # 43-4216, assigned to 14th Air Force, 341st Bomb Group (Medium), 722nd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Yangkai, China, on a bombing mission over Nanning, China. It was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire at about 1030Z, near Vinh, Annam (then French Indochina invaded by the Japanese; later North Vietnam). The crew were:

 

                                      Pilot                                         1stLt Thomas J. Smith                         0-1698910

                                      Navigator/Bombardier            2ndLt Robert E. Caldwell                    0-685925

                                      Radio Operator-Gunner          TSgt Charles C. Evans                         15103045

                                      Engineer-Gunner                     SSgt Walter (NMI) Altman                  36328819

                                      Armorer-Gunner                      SSgt Napolean E. Planta                      3118138

 

The crash was seen by Sgt G.L. Dailey, 36431505, and PFC T.J. Milarowitz, 18068315. Sgt Dailey reported: Before 1stLt Smith crashed, he was flying parallel with the target, over the river. He lost altitude and his left wing hit first and the B-25 flew to pieces. After circling, no crewmen could be seen on the surface.

SMITH, THOMAS JEFFERSON, JR., First Lieutenant, # 0-1698910, USAAF

 

Thomas J. Smith Jr. was born on 11 September 1922 in Arkansas to Thomas Jefferson Smith (1893-1961) and Ludie Mae (Bradley) Smith (1892-1977). A brother was Paul Bradley Smith (1925-    ).   His father was a USPS mail carrier in 1930-1940.

 

After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced schools and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to 14th Air Force in China. On 18 March 1944, a B-25H, # 43-4216, assigned to 14th Air Force, 341st Bomb Group (Medium), 722nd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Yangkai, China, on a bombing mission over Nanning, China. It was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire at about 1030Z, near Vinh, Annam (then French Indochina invaded by the Japanese; later North Vietnam). The crash was seen by Sgt G.L. Dailey, 36431505, and PFC T.J. Milarowitz, 18068315. Sgt Dailey reported: Before 1stLt Smith crashed, he was flying parallel with the target, over the river. He lost altitude and his left wing hit first and the B-25 flew to pieces. After circling, no crewmen could be seen on the surface.

His remains were recovered and buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Hawaii, (Sec. C, Grave 3). He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

 

His father, born 19 March 1893, served in WW I, a Private, Infantry, 132nd Regiment, Compny G. He died on 29 December 1961 and is buried in the Glendale Baptist Church Cemetery, Booneville, Logan Co., Arkansas.