CREW OF 2NDLT BURDETTE BAKER'S B-25D
2ndLt. Burdette H. Baker was the pilot in command.
SIMONIC, PAUL J. Second Lieutenant, 0-735674, USAAF
The co-pilot was 2ndLt Paul J. Simonic, 0-735674. Paul J. Simonic was born 4 May 1916 in Porterville, California, to John M. Simonic (originally Simonich) (1884-1972) and Katherine (Nemanich) Simonic (1892-1989). He has five siblings, including: Maria Teresa Simonic (1917-2009), Emil Joseph Simonic (1919-2012), Carolyn “Carol” C. Simonic (1920-2015) and two living, including Rose A. Simonic. His father petitioned for and obtained naturalization in 1916 and was originally from Austria. 2ndLt Simonic died 20 December 1943 in Burma. He enlisted in the USAAF on 24 February 1942 in Los Angeles, California (enlisted service # 19080335). His remains, found in a grave with other crew members, were returned to the U.S. for burial. At the time, no science was available to distinguish the remains and they were honorably buried together as a group on 24 September 1949 at the Jefferson Barracks Cemetery in Missouri.
His brother, Emil Joseph Simonic, born 11 February 1919, in Porterville, CA, enlisted in the U.S. Army 24 November 1942 (service # 39688911) in Fresno, CA. Emil was married and had two daughters. He died 4 September 2012 in Tulare County, CA, and is buried in the Saint Annes Cemetery in Porterville, CA. The Fresno Bee of 13 June 1937, reported that John M. Simonic was elected chancellor of the Porterville Knights of Columbus and that Emil J. Simonic was elected as treasurer.
On 31 December 1943, The Fresno Bee – The Republican, reported “Porterville Flier Is Missing In Action,” PORTERVILLE (Tulare Co.) Lieutenant Paul J. Simonic, co-pilot of a B25 bomber, is reported missing after a rad over Burma. No details were given in a wire from the war department to the flier’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John M. Simonic. Simonic trained in South Carolina and Florida and received his commission and wings at Stockton Field last January 4th. He has been overseas since last March 1st. He is a graduate of the Porterville schools.