RAY, PATRICK E., Technical Sergeant, # 6668622, USAAF
He was born 29 April 1919 in Kentucky to Edmund Clem Ray (1887- ) and Willie Bolan (McChesney) Jones nee Ray (1888-1950). Siblings included Mildred (Ray) Soule (1917-1987). The 1920 and 1930 census for Donaldson, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, shows the family as Mildred McChesney (1846- ), L. L. McChesney (1876- ) (brother to Willie), Willie (McChesney) Ray (1889- ), Mildred (Ray) Soule (1917-1987) and Patrick E. Ray (1919-1944). The 1940 census of Scott Field, USAAF, Illinois (later Scott AFB), included USAAF “soldier” Patrick E. Ray, age 21 years. His father was a teacher.
He enlisted 3 August 1939. He was trained, and eventually sent overseas, assigned to the 67th Base Headquarters, Air Base Squadron. On 25 January 1944, a B-24D, # 41-23889 (converted to ferry passengers and cargo – TSgt. Ray was a passenger), departed Chabua, India, at 7:40 a.m., to fly to Kunming, China. At 10:45 a.m., over the Himalayas, the formation of five B-24Ds “was forced to break up due to extreme instrument weather conditions.” All five aircraft crashed. B-24D, # 41-23889, near Jorhat, India. Crews parachuted from two and a third, which crashed, had two survivors. The fourth and fifth, “Hot as Hell” and “Haley’s Comet,” disappeared, the crews presumed dead (Tara Copp, Stars & Stripes, 8 Apr 2016). The B-24D flown by Captain Rosser was last contacted by radio at about 1200 hours. The Chabua field had zero visibility. A group burial was held 10 November 1949 in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri. His remains were recovered from Kalaikunda, India, and returned to the U.S. and were buried 18 June 1948 in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky, Plot A, Grave 1130.