On 9 August 1944 a B-24J, # 44-40822, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 425th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Kunming, China, on a mission to lay mines in Hong Kong Harbor. This B-24 and another were shot down and crashed into the harbor. The crew was:
Pilot 2ndLt Evert P. Mitchell 0-693390
Co-Pilot 2ndLt Francis G. Steiger 0-699869
Navigator 2ndLt Fred R. Massing 0-685679
Bombardier FO Howard J. Lundberg T-123326
Crew Chief SSgt Leonard W. Habel 36585589
Radio Operator SSgt Reese (NM) Hunter Jr. 33522234
Gunner Sgt Robert H. Kuhns 39560642
Gunner Sgt Byron E. LaBlanc 36805260
Radar Observer Cpl Lawrence C. Hedlund 17106825
(All enlisted crewmen served also as gunners)
MITCHELL, EVERT PORTER, Second Lieutenant, # 0-693390, USAAF
Evert P. Mitchell was born on 17 February 1922 in Bayfield, La Plata Co., Colorado, to Elmer Mitchell (1887-1965) and Sophronia E. “Fronia” (Milligan) Mitchell (1893-1977). Siblings were Luetta E. Mitchell (1919-1920) and Leahbelle (Mitchell) Neil (1924-2013).
He registered for the WWII draft in 1942, resided seven miles north of Ignacio, La Plata Co., CO, and described himself as 6’1”, 165 lbs, with brown hair and gray eyes. He noted that he had a small mole on his right cheek. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced schools and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas through India to China. On 9 August 1944 a B-24J, # 44-40822, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 425th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Kunming, China, on a mission to lay mines in Hong Kong Harbor. This B-24 and another were shot down and crashed into the harbor. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. A memorial marker was placed in the Bayfield Cemetery, Bayfield, La Plata Co., Colorado. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.