44-76649         C47 (MACR 14426)

 

On 15 May 1945, a C-47B, # 44-76649, assigned to 10th Air Force, 3rd Combat Cargo Group, 9th Combat Cargo Squadron, Warazup, Burma, departed the airfield at Chanyi, China, on an air supply mission to Myitkyina, Burma, through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). The crew was killed when the C-47B crashed into a mountain during IFR (Instrument Flight Rules – lack of visual) flight. The crew were:

 

                                           Pilot                             Capt. Bernard F. Milford                     0-662157

                                           Co-Pilot                       F/O Richard F. Ketcham                      T-63409

                                           Radio Operator            Cpl. Claude K. Puckett                        18182443

                                           Engineer                      Sgt. Charles A. Perron                          38542256

 

The last to see the C-47B was 2ndLt Arthur B. Baldwin, 0-704357. 2ndLt Baldwin was flying within sight of Capt. Milford when they entered IFR conditions at the Salween River. Capt. Milford turned North while 2ndLt Baldwin turned South. The Salween River (modernly the Thanlyin River) flows from China South, along the border with Thailand and through Burma. It empties after much meandering through jungle into the Andaman Sea where sits the modern city of Mawiamyine, Burma and Bilugyun (Island).

 

A radio-gram from Air Jungle Rescue disclosed that the wreckage of the C-47B was found at military map grid NZ 1539. It exploded and was scattered over a large area. The first report was from a British ground search party that found a medical record of Cpl. Claude K. Puckett. A second ground search party found part of the C-47B tail. The party reported that some remains were buried with some personal items. All crewmen perished. The Graves Registration team recovered remains from the crash location and temporary burial at an American military airfield in India and, indistinguishable, the remains were buried in a group (Milford, Ketcham, Perron, and Puckett) ceremony and one casket in the Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell, Lincoln Co., Nebraska, on 30 August 1949 (Sec. R, Grave 13).