44-39203

 

On 24 September 1944 a C-87 (B-24 variant cargo transport) Liberator Express, # 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. The crew was:

 

                                            Pilot                             2ndLt George A. Justesen                   0-679883

                                            Co-Pilot                       1stLt Vernal L. Hurd                           0-522147

                                            Radio Operator            Cpl Trini P. Zepeda                             39121042

                                            Crew Chief                  Cpl Russell G. Roberts                        37229476

                                               (The Roberts identity comes from Maj. Jones report, not the MACR)

                                            Crew Chief                  PFC Walker C. Robertson                   31139492

 

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 the 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.

The next-of-kin listed were:

                                          Hurd                Winnie D. Hurd, M, 742 N. Pala St., Ponca City, OK

                                          Justesen           Lena K. Justesen, M, 2857 Vane St., Omaha, NE

                                          Zepeda             Raymond Zepeda, F, 2783 Bryant St., San Francisco, CA

                                          Robertson        Annie C. Robertson, M, 476 Parker St., Boston, Mass.

C-87 Liberator Express