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).

 

His brother, James E. Cochran, born 13 February 1920, served in the U.S. Army from 22 May 1944 to 26 November 1945. He died 11 June 1995 and is buried in the Lakeview Cemetery, Honeoye, Ontario Co., New York.

 

SITA, ALBERT J., Second Lieutenant, # 0-707340, USAAF

 

Albert J. Sita was born on 11 April 1922 in Masnfield, Bristol Co., Massachusetts, to Charles Joseph Sita (1888-1964) and Jennie (Conte) Sita (1894-1983). Siblings included Letizia Sita (1913-    ), Charles Joseph Sita Jr. (1915-1996), and Dolores Marion Sita (1928-    ).  Living with them in 1920 was his paternal grandmother, Mary Sita (1853-    ) (Italy).

 

Trained as a navigator on the B-24 Liberator, he earned his commission and 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). A memorial marker was placed in the Saint Marys Cemetery, Mansfield, Massachusetts. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart.

 

His brother, Charles J. Sita, born 1 February 1915, served in the U.S. Navy, Seaman 1st Class, # 8024586, from 30 July 1943 to 11 November 1946. He served aboard the U.S.S. Wasp (CV-18)He died 22 October 1996 and is buried in Saint John’s Cemetery, Attleboro, Bristol Co., Massachusetts.