HURD, VERNAL LEE, First Lieutenant, # 0-522147, USAAF

 

Vernal D. Hurd was born on 16 July 1921 in Talala, Rogers Co., Oklahoma, to Franklin Vernon Hurd (1894-1974) and Winifred “Winnie” Davis (Whisenhunt) Hurd (1901-1999) (married 23 December 1919, Rogers, OK). Siblings were Malcolm Wayne Hurd (1925-1925), Mark Leslie Hurd (1926-    ) and Mardet Len Hurd (1938-    ). His father was a bookkeeper for a petroleum company in 1930. Living with them in 1940 were his maternal uncle, Pomer Whisenhunt (1918-    ) and a maternal aunt, Anna Mae Whisenhunt (1924-    ).

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on 2 November 1940. He completed flight instruction through advanced school and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 24 September 1944 a C-87, # 44-39203, assigned to 10th Air Force, India-China Wing, 1330th AAF Base Unit, departed the airfield at Chengtu, China, on a return flight to Jorhat, India, through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). Last radio contact was with Sgt Albin J. Wroblewski, # 36503536. On 31 October 1944 a large search party led by Maj. Edgar H. Jones, left Dafflaghur Tea Estate and got to a camp site at Rilengka on 2 November 1944. On 4 November they located the second crashed C-87 (44-39203). They located “903” on the wreckage. The C-87 crashed about 2 miles from the village of Teipu at 93° 32’ longitude & 27° 6’ latitude. It crashed into a mountain at full power at 3,000 to 4,000 feet. Several large trees were hit. The front of the C-87 burned and was a twisted debris mass partially buried by a landside. Natives found an empty parachute, # 42-710062, 3 .45 cal. pistols, a Very flare pistol (turned in to the 301st Service Group ordinance division) and a silver ID bracelet with aircrew wings on it. The ID bracelet and a parachute log were provided to the Commander, 1330th AAF Base Unit. They found parts of a body and with bones was an ID tages for 2ndLt George A. Justesen. The remains were buried at the crash site with appropriate markings. No other bodies or parts were found. Two C-87s crashed. The other was 42-10782, out of Misamari, India, of the 1328th AAF Base Unit. After retrieval, his remains were buried with those of Justesen, Robertson and Zepeda in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri, on 6 September 1949 (Sec. 82, Grave 33). A memorial marker was placed in the Fair View Cemetery, Talala, Rogers Co., Oklahoma.

 

His father, born 26 August 1894, served in the U.S. Army during WWI from 28 June 1918 to 4 September 1919. He died 16 June 1974 and is buried in the Resthaven Memorial Park, Ponca City, Kay Co., Oklahoma.