44-11117

 

On 23 December 1944 a P-51C-10, # 44-11117, assigned to 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Suichwan, China, departed the airfield on a strafing mission over Hankow, China. The pilot, killed in action, was 2ndLt Robert E. Boernke, # 0-714365. It was reported that he bailed out 25 miles east of Suichwan. He was killed at about 1610 hours in the town of Datow, 49 kilometers SSW of Yungan, Fuklen, on the main Nanping-Changting highway. His parachute failed to open fully.

 

BOERNKE, ROBERT ELLSWORTH, Second Lieutenant, # 0-714365, USAAF

 

Robert E. Boernke was born on 16 January 1921 in Wisconsin to William Ellsworth Boernke (1891-1972) and Iris May (Nelson) Boernke (1896-1989). Siblings included Ellen Myrtle (Boernke) Hermanson (1917-2000), Viva Joyce (Boernke) Green (1919-2013), and Elaine I. Boernke (1937-    ). He graduated from River Falls State Teachers College, River Falls, Wisconsin.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF on 25 September 1942. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced school. He earned his commission and pilot wings in May 1943. He was sent overseas through India to China. On 23 December 1944 a P-51C-10, # 44-11117, assigned to 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Suichwan, China, departed the airfield on a strafing mission over Hankow, China. It was reported that he bailed out 25 miles east of Suichwan. He was killed at about 1610 hours in the town of Datow, 49 kilometers SSW of Yungan, Fuklen, on the main Nanping-Changting highway. His parachute failed to open fully. After recovery in China, his remains were buried in the Sunset Memorial Cemetery, Woodville, Wisconsin.

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