RODRIGUEZ, FRANK, Staff Sergeant, Service # 6578491, U.S. Army Air Force
Frank Rodriguez was born in New Mexico in 1918. He enlisted in the U.S. Army 5 August 1941 in Madera County, California. His first training was as a mine planter. He transferred to the U.S.A.A.F. to be an assistant engineer - gunner on the B-24J Liberator. On 1 December 1943 his B-24J Liberator, Tail # 42-73055, departed Pandaveswar, India enroute to bomb the Insein enemy workshops. The crew and aircraft were assigned to the 9th Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group. It was last sighted at 1228 hours at 16 degrees 45 minutes North and 95 degrees 22 minutes East.
The crew was comprised of pilot Capt. Bill Wright, 0-725565, co-pilot 1stLt Merrill R. Parker, 0-720160, navigator 1stLt Roy A. Wentz Jr., 0-659938, bombardier 1stLt Raymond Maloney, 0-726056, engineer SSgt Clifford H. Beckman, 19075514, radio operator SSgt Francis C. Winderl, 19019299, asst. engineer SSgt Frank Rodrguez, asst. rai operator SSgt Edward J. Girman, 35258994, armorer gunner SSgt Alvin L. Hastings, 35357272, and armorer gunner SSgt Joseph B. Wells, 6934111. All enlisted men doubled as gunners on .50 caliber Browning aircraft machine guns. The bomber crashed 1 December 1943. He died as a POW in the Rangoon Cantonment and was buried in its cemetery. His remains were recovered by the Graves Registration team from grave # 204 of the cemetery. The team and his remains were lost in the crash of the Graves Registration C-47B into the Bay of Bengal 17 May 1946.
RYAN, EUGENE F., Private First Class, Service # 17134187, U.S. Army Air Force
Eugene F. Ryan was born 27 November 1926 in Alton, Illionois, to Martin J. Ryan and Hortense Ford. His siblings included Martin Ryan, born 1932, Patricia Ryan, born 1933, and James Ryan, born 1937. During the early days of the 1929-1933 depression, the family moved to Mattese, Missouri, then to Gratiot Ave., Shrewsbury, Missouri in 1938. Egene attended St. Michael's grade school and went on to graduate from St. Louis University Preparatory School. He loved music and organized a swing band, playing at "sock hops" and H.S. dances. He composed music and wrote arrangements for the band. He was a great and loving big brother. He took his siblings to a Duke Ellington concert at the Fox Theatre, St. Louis, when Jim was 7 years old.
At age 17 years, he enlisted 12 April 1944 at the Jefferson Barrachs, St. Louis, MO. His address was 5026 Shrewbury St., Webster Grove, Missouri. He trained at Scott Field, Belleville, IL. Scott Air Force Base is the only base named after an enlisted serviceman - Coporal Frank Scott, killed in 1911 in the early years of military flight. Additional radio training was at a USAAF field, Nevada. He was sent overseas to the 1304th AAF Base Unit and assigned temporary duty 14 May 1946 to Graves Registration service with his crew and aircraft. He died 17 May 1946 when the C-47B crashed into the Bay of Bengall and all aboard were lost. It was a terrible shock to the family.