44-26518         P38L    Shomaker (MACR 14754)

 

On 12 July 1945, a P-38L-5-LO, # 44-26518, assigned to 14th Air Force, 51st Fighter Group, 449th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Mengtsz on a strafing mission of the enemy in Vinh bao. The fighter was last seen to crash near coordinates 18º 40’ North & 105º 40’ East. The pilot was 1stLt William E. Shomaker, # 0-734012. He was last seen by 1stLt Donald R. Forsythe, 0-760449, and F/O Daniel G. Church, T-3387.

 

F/O Church reported that they believed the fighter was hit by enemy ground fire while he was strafing at 100’ altitude. F/O Church was flying on his left wing. It looked like 1stLt Shomaker tried to bail out but F/O Church could not see if he succeeded because the airspeed was 250 MPH. 1stLt Forsythe, flying top cover, searched the area, and saw a patch of parachute silk as I it had opened but could not see a body. Capt. Mercer and Lt. McGovern stayed top cover. 

 

SHOMAKER, WILLIAM ERNEST, First Lieutenant, # 0-734012, USAAF

 

William E. Shomaker was born on 20 October 1921 in Avery Co., North Carolina, to James Martin Shomake (1897-1975) and Jettie Elizabeth (Gwaltney) Shomaker (1896-1963). Siblings included R. Eddus (Shomaker) Von Canon (1919-2005), Ord Ambrose Shomaker (1920-1998), Gladys V. (Shomaker) Blanton (1923-2000), Thursa Anita (Shomaker) Crawley (1924-1985), James Vance Shomaker (1927-2010). His father was employed by a bank in 1930-40.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF at Langley Field, Virginia, on 9 July 1940. He completed flight instruction through advanced schools to fly the P-38 Lightning. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to China. On 12 July 1945, a P-38L-5-LO, # 44-26518, assigned to 14th Air Force, 51st Fighter Group, 449th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Mengtsz on a strafing mission of the enemy in Vinh Bao, Annam (Indochina – Vietnam). The fighter was last seen to crash near coordinates 18º 40’ North & 105º 40’ East (Vinh). He was last seen by 1stLt Donald R. Forsythe, 0-760449, and F/O Daniel G. Church, T-3387. F/O Church reported that they believed the fighter was hit by enemy ground fire while he was strafing at 100’ altitude. F/O Church was flying on his left wing. It looked like 1stLt Shomaker tried to bail out but F/O Church could not see if he succeeded because the airspeed was 250 MPH. 1stLt Forsythe, flying top cover, searched the area, and saw a patch of parachute silk as I it had opened but could not see a body. Capt. Mercer and Lt. McGovern stayed top cover. He is remembered on the wall of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. A memorial marker was placed in the Mount Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery, Banner Elk, Avery Co., North Carolina. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

 

His brother, Ord A. Shomaker, born 27 May 1920, served in the U.S. Army, a Sergeant, during WWII. He died 7 November 1998 and is buried in the Mount Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery, Banner Elk, North Carolina.