EIGLER, MAURICE EUGENE, First Lieutenant, # 0-805796, USAAF


Maurice E. Eigler was born on 30 May 1920 in Manilla, Crawford Co., Iowa, to Fred W. Eigler (1890-1967) and Blanche Luella (Lewis) Eigler (1891-1985) (married 3 July 1916, Iowa). Siblings included Maurine G. (Eigler) Davis (1928-2011). In 1962, the Eigler family lived at 307 East Monroe St., Jefferson, Iowa.


He enlisted in the USAAF on 4 May 1942. After completion of basdic flight school, he earned his commission and pilot wings. He completed advance flight training for the B-29 Superfortress and was sent overseas to 20th Air Force. On 4 November 1944, a B-29, # 42-6370, “Lethal Lady,” assigned to 20th Air Force, the 468th Bomb Group, 793rd Bomb Squadron, one of fifty-three B-29s, departed the airfield at Khargpur, India, on a bombing mission to Singapore Naval Base. 1stLt Eigler was the co-pilot. The B-29 was returning to its base when it crashed into the Bay of Bengal (MACR 9577). The pilot of B-29, # 42-6582, of the 40th Bomb Group, saw the crash. SSgt Albert G. Seekatz, 37494507, had the last radio contact. Searches for the wreckage and any survivors were conducted by four aircraft and one Catalina aircraft, sweep searching the area of the crash. No crewmen were found. Airmen in B-29, 42-6582, 40th Bomb Group, at 2030 Zulu, saw a B-29 explode and crash into the Bay of Bengal at 11º 17’ N - 94º 14’ E, near the Andaman Islands. On this B-29s return trip from the mission, saw red and green flares. SSgt Seekatz, radio operator aboard B-29 42-6397, received an “Urgent” call from 42- 6370 at 2030 Zulu but no following message was sent. Another B-29 crew, returning from the same mission, saw a yellow life raft with either a mast or a man standing slightly north of the noted bearing. The entire Bomber Command (20th AF) and units of the British Navy conducted a thorough search of the area for several hundred miles around the wreckage location. The search lasted several days. Nothing was found. He is remembered on the memorial wall in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. A memorial marker was placed by the family in the Willow Township Cemetery, Bayard, Greene Co., Iowa. He was awarded the Air Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart.



Robert T. Arnoldus was born on 9 July 1917 in Oregon to Peter Arnoldus (1887-1970) and Leona H. (Finley) Arnoldus (1893-1987). His maternal grandfather, Robert C. Finley, was a veteran (17th South Carolina Infantry Regiment) of the Civil War. He is named after this grandfather. He graduated from La Grande High School and from Oregon State College, Corvallis, Oregon. He was married to Dorothy Bell (Shawn) Arnoldus on 15 October 1942. When he left for the 20th Air Force assignment, she lived at 166 Serrano Drive, San Francisco, California. In 1930, the family lived in La Grande, Union Co., Oregon. Living with them was his maternal grandmother, Leona Alice (Harding March nee Finley (1851-1947) (KY) and a paternal first cousin, Lillian M. (Walls) Michel nee Burke (1913-211) (OR). In 1930 his father was a fireman employed by a steam engine railroad.

1stLt Eigler