MEAD, CHARLES EDWARD, First Lieutenant, # 0-694841, USAAF
Charles E. Mead was born on 4 March 1921 in Laporte, Hubbard Co., Minnesota, to Joseph W. Mead (1897-1973) (NE) and Aena Sedona (Crandall) Mead (1896-1975) (ND). Siblings included William Murray Mead (1922- ) and Darleen Ellen (Mead) Boyden (1924- ).
He enlisted in the USAAF in Syracuse, New York, on 11 September 1942. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction and was multi-engine rated to fly the B-24 Liberator. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 21 November 1944 a B-24J, “Cabin In The Sky,” # 44-40811, assigned to 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 492nd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Madhaicanj, India, on a combat mission over Geang Luang. It was seen by 2ndLt John E. Bittner, 0-696419, 2ndLt John J. Probst, 0-703520, and 1stLt John J. Berry, 0-696738, to crash, killing all on board, at about 1650 hours after a fire and explosion occurred in the wing between # 1 and # 2 engines, likely caused by anti-aircraft fire. 1stLt Berry reported that he saw the fire and the B-24 crashed beyond a ridge. 2ndLt Bittner reported that he heard Lt. Miller say, “Mead has an engine on fire.” The left wing seemed on fire, the flames back to the rudder. The B-24 hit the trees and exploded. Bombs then exploded. 2ndLt Probst reported that a puff of smoke appeared near engine # 2. Flames grew and spread to engine # 1. The B-24 hit the ground about 2 ½ miles from the target. It exploded on impact and burned. The bombs then exploded. It was about twenty-five miles southwest of Bhre, Thailand. The remains of the crew were recovered from the crash site but were indistinguishable. They were buried in a group ceremony (Duff, Beutecale, Cochran, Eickhorst, Kooi, Litzell, Mead, Randall, Schrump, Sita, Ullmann) in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri, on 22 November 1949 (Sec. 82, Grave 93A).