WYDRA, CHARLES EDMUND, Second Lieutenant, # 0-553793, USAAF


Charles E. Wydra was born in 1921 in Pennsylvania to Josef (Joseph) Edmund Wydra (1884-1946) (Poland) and Casmira “Cassie” (Miczkiewicz) Wydra nee Ambrozunas (1889-1971) (Russia). Half-siblings and siblings included Josephine M. (Ambrozunas) Pohutski (1909-    ) (Russia), John Ambrozunas (changed to Ambrose) (1911-1992), Julia Theresa (Wydra) Boyer (1923-    ), Joseph Edmond Wydra Jr. (1927-1999)


He enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard, Field Artillery, on 17 February 1941 but, was activated and transferred to the USAAF in 1943. He completed instruction through advanced schools and was trained as the radar obersver on the Northrop P-61 Black Widow. He earned his commission and wings. The P-61 Black Widow was designed as a night fighter. He was sent overseas to India. On 23 April 1945, a P-61-A-10 Black Widow, # 42-39364, assigned to 10th Air Force, 427th Night Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Myitkyina, Burma, on a mission over Wan-Yin, Burma. The pilot and radar observor were, respectively: 1stLt Jack W. Erickson, # 0-754484, and 2ndLt Charles E. Wydra, # 0-553793. The P-61 was last seen by 2ndLt Harlie R. Montgomery, 0-889755, and 2ndLt Lester L. Mahon, 0-889754. Parachutes were seen and person(s) were seen to be walking away from the crashed P-61. The information about the parachutes and crewmen walking from the crash was received 2 days after the P-61 was reported missing. The location given was about 8 miles south of Loi Ka, Burma (military map coordinates LN 3476), near the road. No additional information was forthcoming and it was subsequently learned the crewmen were killed. The Graves Registration team that recovered the crew remains was unable to distinguish the two, thus the remains were buried in a group grave in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky, on 25 August 1949 (Sec. E, Grave 151).


His brother, Joseph E. Wydra Jr., born 4 May 1927, served in the U.S. Army, a Sergeant, from 19 May 1950 to 19 May 1953, during WW II and the Korean War. He died 17 December 1999 and is buried in the Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmington, New York (Sec. 3B, Grave 2655)