Grant W. Erwin Jr Dr. Betty L. (Koch) Erwin
CLYBORNE, CLARENCE ALFRED, JR., Second Lieutenant, Service # 0-738961, U.S. Army Air Force
Clarence A. Clyborne Jr. was born on 16 March 1919 in Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia to Clarence A. Clyborne (1892-1972) and Vernice M. (Hall) Clyborne (1897-1974). He was the only child of the marriage. He registered for the WW II draft on 16 October 1940, describing himself as 5'8", 154 lbs, brown hair with hazel eyes. He enlisted 5 January 1942 at Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio (enlisted service # 15073578). At the time, he gave his residence as Mercer County, West Virginia. He had completed three years of college at the University of Tennessee. His father registered for the draft as well, giving an address of 1335 Lebanon St., Bluefield, West Virginia; giving his birth date as 2 May 1892 and described himself as 5'7", 170 lbs with gray hair and blue eyes. In the 1930 census, the family is living in Bluefield, Mercer County, West Virginia and his father was a coal broker. In 1940, they remained in Bluefield and his father was a division manager for a coal company. He married Lena Merlo (1921-1995) and they had a son.
He is mentioned in a book with his crew - 7th Bombardment Group/Wing 1918-1995, authored by Robert F. Dorr. In this work, Clyborne is listed as the bombardier and the author wrote that he died 31 December 1943 as a POW. The source of this information is not identified but, his enlistment record found on www.fold3.com affirms the date. The "Individual Casualty Questionnaire" completed by 1stLt Grant W. Erwin Jr., says that he bailed out of the severely damaged bomber three to five miles southeast of Chaungpyaw, a small villlage in the Bassein district (an area dominated by the Japanese). 1stLt Erwin ordered Clyborne to bail out when Erwin discovered that both pilots were out of action and the cockpit was inaccessible due to fire throughout the aircraft from the nose wheel all the way aft (to the tail). Clyborne was strafed by enemy fighters while parachuting. The parachute was set on fire and he plummeted to the ground. Despite the severity of the fall, he survived but suffered compound fractures of both sets of bones in his right leg. A compound fracture means that the shattered bones extruded through the muscle and skin of the fracture locations. Without quality medical care, treatment is difficult or impossible in an austere setting.