AVERY, MELVIN SHERWOOD, Second Lieutenant, # 0-670487, USAAF


Melvin S. “Buddy” Avery was born 9 May 1918 to Marlen Herbert Avery (1891-1964) and Maude Elmer (Bivens) Avery (1894-1974) in Calvin, Oklahoma. He had several siblings, including Clifford Marlen Avery (1916-1987), Lillian Geniva Avery (1920-2007), George James Avery (1922-1923), Joyce Elizabeth Avery (1924-1997), John Craig Avery (1930-1987), and William Max “Bill” Avery (1935-2010). He was also survived by his wife, Gladys Pauline Russell (1917-1999) and a daughter, Sherry Lynn Avery (1943-2002).


He enlisted in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on 16 January 1941. He was accepted as an aviation cadet and after pre-flight, basic flight and advanced flight schools, received his commission and wings. The bomber and crew were assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group, 436th Bombardment Squadron. He was the co-pilot. The bomber did not emerge from clouds with the other five on the mission. It was last sighted by 1stLt Robert J. Clarke, 0-431388, 1stLt Robert G. Brittenbach, 0-659652, and 1stLt Henry W. Gilmer, Jr., 0-440853. 1stLt Clarke wrote, “It was last seen in formation with five other bombers entering a cloud bank. After fifteen minutes, the formation broke into the clear and only five aircraft could be accounted for. After another fifteen minutes, a crew hear, “Any B-24D for Help.” The call was answered but received no reply. An enemy fighter, type I45 (Kawasaki Toryu, for “Dragon Slayer,” allied name “Nick”), made an attack on a plane in the formation (not the missing bomber) and this was included to show there were enemy aircraft nearby.” Two search missions were flown. Called off because of poor weather. Enemy fighters were seen in the area; one attacked one of the B-24s. The bomber was not found. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart.


Brother John C. Avery served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and the Vietnam War, honorably discharged as a Master Sergeant. Melvin S. Avery’s family placed a memorial marker and veteran marker in the Hilltop Cemetery, Calvin, Oklahoma.