SHEETS, JOHN "JACK" RAYMOND, Staff Sergeant, Service # 13067183
U.S. Army Air Force
Jack Sheets was born in Aspenwall, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 16 July 1920, to George Raymond Sheets (1893- ) and Helen Margaret Sheets (1895- ) (divorced 1940). Helen was a stenographer. Jack had at least one sibling, George Robert Sheets (1919- ). In 1942, the family lived at 104 Hamilton, Harrisburg, PA. His draft card for WW II shows an address of 908 North 2nd St., Harrisburg, noted his mother as kin and he workedfor the Middleton Air Depot. He described himself as 5'8 1/2", with blond hair and blue eyes. He enlisted at the Depot 17 April 1942. After training, he was sent overseas and assigned to the 71st Liaison Squadron, 1st Reconnaisannce Group, 10th Air Force. This squadron worked closely with O.S.S. Detachment 101, to which Jack was assigned and flew many missions in Burma and the region. The L-5 Sentinel, built by Stinson Aircraft, was known as the flying jeep.
Missing Aircrew report # 9614 briefly reports on the aircraft loss. SSgt Sheets was an enlisted pilot flying the Stnson Aircraft L-5 Sentinel while assigned to O.S.S. Detachment 101 in Burma. Carrying a passenger, Army First Sergeant (O.S.S.) Karl A. Snyder, 35722535, and materials, he departed Myitkyina to fly to Nawngpu-Awng, Burma on 25 October 1944. It was speculated that he ran out of fuel or was lost in darkess. A second L-5 flew his course. A B-25 Air Jungle Rescue Unit flew the area and found nothing. The wreckage of a tiny olive green L-5 would be hard to see from the ground. The O.S.S. sent out three Burmese patrols to search. Jack Sheets died on 20 November 1944, a POW in the Rangoon Cantonment, of appendicitus or constipation & indigestion. Another POW saw him the night before he died. The next morning, POW Capt. John Rust helped place him in a casket and bury him in the cantonment cemetery. The Graves Registration team recovered his remains from grave # 218.
On 16 July 1945, the Harrisburg Telegraph reported that SSgt Sheets died of malaria in a POW prison after being captured by a hostile tribe. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Air Medal and Purple Heart.