LISTON continued.


NOTE: The following article mentions Charles Liston but uses a middle initial of “D,” however, there was no 1stLt Charles D. Liston assigned to the glider force of 1st Commando during the time of 20 March 1944, which was near the time 1stLt Charles B. Liston was assigned. The article seems to misidentify Liston or use an inaccurate date.

An example of the danger faced by glider pilots follows: The Iowa Mason City Globe-Gazette, Monday, 20 March 1944, carried a story about their efforts to escape: “Shoot Way From Jungle to Escape” – On the India-Burma Frontier – (AP) A party of American and British airmen shot their way out of the jungle and swam the Chindwin river to safety when their 2 gliders broke their tow lines during the [mission] behind Japanese lines in Burma. The heroism of an American glider engineer, who drown silently in the river rather than scream for help and draw Japanese fire on his comrades, facilitated their escape. His glider was forced down 28 miles east of the Chindwin. Others aboard included: Maj. Richard D. Baebel, Buffalo, NY, Flight Officer Nesbit L. Martin, glider pilots [from] House, NM, and Sgt Cyrus E. Porter, Swarthmore, PA. An enemy machine-gun began firing at the men as soon as they landed and they quickly pushed deeper into the jungle. Barking and wild dogs followed them through the forest until they made camp n a bamboo thicket. The 2nd day they were spotted by a Japanese, but escaped and reached the Chindwin. Seven of [them] couldn’t swim, but [they] made floating packs out of their supplies with rubber ground sheets and those who could swim were to help those who couldn’t. “We waded into the river at the darkest time of night and got half way across before the water became fast and deep,” Baebel said. “The engineer and I both got going all right.” Martin said with tears in his eyes, “but near the middle and swift part of the river he became tired. He took off his gun and belt and “I took off my guns and shoes. I went down and when I came up, he was 20 feet away. I started for him but he just sank without making a cry.” The party crawled into the jungle and slept until 10 o’clock, when they pushed on away from the river. The few men with shoes shared the carrying of the 3 remaining packs. Eventually they reached a village where a feast was in progress and obtained food. A British scout force leader appeared and directed the survivors to an emergency landing strip where the [L-5] U.S. planes [flown by enlisted pilots] took them off. The 2nd glider was forced down a mile and a half from an enemy garrison and the occupants escaped by swimming a half-mile stretch of river. They were also rescued by plane. Lt. Bruce Evans, Riverside, CA, said the party barely eluded Japanese. He and Lt. Charles D. Liston, RFD 3, Adel, Iowa, told of their life and death game of hide and seek with the enemy in a night chase in the jungle, while recuperating in a base hospital. The glider was crushed like a match box in its crash, and Evans said: “Most of us were stunned for a few minutes, but no one was seriously hurt. Liston was injured & while a British sergeant gave him first aid, the rest of us got guns, medicine and food out of the wreckage.” Almost immediately, they heard men coming through the jungle, and started crawling toward the river. “After a half mile walk, we came to the bank of the Chindwin and heard 3 shots behind us,” said Liston. “We couldn’t find anything to make a raft and Evans and myself were the only persons who could swim.” It took Evans an hour to swim the Chindwin and he landed 2 miles downstream, exhausted. Most of the morning he could hear shooting around him. “I came to a village,” Evans said, “and the village head man came up, and I wanted food and water. He furnished eggs, rice, wine and tea. While I ate, 2 Burmese suddenly stepped out in front of me, armed to the teeth. They turned out to be allied scouts. “They took me to a scout camp where the British captain organized a rescue party to go out and look for the rest. Friendly natives built a short runway in a rice field and I got a broken down radio working and messaged for a rescue plane. The next day, a plane landed, and brought me in.”

On 20 April 1944, the Council Bluffs Nonpareil news reported 1stLt Liston as missing in action since 6 March 1944, according to his mother, Mrs. Charles Liston. The MACR on his MIA glider crew says "... the members of the 1st Commando Group .. in the Chindwin River area."  On 2 May 1944, the Des Moines Register reported Lt. Liston as one of "15 IOWA YANKS AMONG MISSING."