STARCHER, KENNETH SMITH, First Lieutenant, # 0-735685, USAAF
Kenneth S. Starcher was born on 19 September 1915 in Buckhannon, Upshur County, West Virginia, to Hugh Starcher (1873-1962) and Maud Starcher (1877-1936). Siblings included Dr. Brentus Alton Starcher (1901-1963), Leland Brooks Starcher (1905-1964), Hugh Starcher (1910-1961), Aubrey Hess Starcher (1911-2009), and Sammy Max Starcher (1917- 1989). In 1920 his father owned a feed store. In 1942 he married Mary Virginia Smith.
He registered for the WW II draft on 16 October 1940 and described himself as 5’10”, 150 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF at Clarksburg, West Virginia, on 19 March 1942. He was trained and earned his commission and pilot wings. On 28 May 1944, at about 1645 hours, a B-24J, # 42-73309, departed Lingling air base, Yangkai, China to fly to Kweilin, China. It was assigned to the 308th Bomb Group, the 373rd Bomb Squadron (Heavy), of 14th Air Force. It crashed after take-off from Lingling. All aboard were killed. He was awarded the Air Medal. His remains were buried on 1 December 1949 at Schofield Mausoleum, Schofield Barracks, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii.
His brother Sammy M. Starcher, born 2 November 1917, served in the U.S. Army during WW II, from 3 March 1943 through 16 August 1946. He was a doctor of dentistry. He married Evelyn Iona Duncan (1919-2014) on 30 June 1943. He died 17 April 1989.
VARNEY, ROBERT F., Second Lieutenant, # 0-817554, USAAF
Robert F. Varney was born on 20 February 1921 in Ohio to Chester Andrew Varney (1886-1947) and Louise Martha Catherine (Becherer) Varney (1885-1960). Siblings included Chester A. Varney Jr. (1919-2006) and Marion Louise (Varney) Weiss (1913-2001).
He enlisted in the USAAF on 5 February 1943 at Patterson Field, Fairfield Co., Ohio (now Wright-Patterson AFB). After completing flight school and advanced flight school for four-engine rating, he was commissioned and pinned on his pilot wings. He was co-pilot on 28 May 1944, at about 1645 hours, of a B-24J, # 42-73309, “Trouble Maker”, departed Lingling air base, Yangkai, China to fly to Kweilin, China. It was assigned to the 308th Bomb Group, the 373rd Bomb Squadron (Heavy), of 14th Air Force. It crashed after take-off from Lingling. All aboard were killed. He was buried in the U.S. in 1947 in the Lakewood Park Cemetery, Rocky River, Ohio. His brother, Chester A. Varney Jr., born 24 May 1919, served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant during WW II. He died on 8 January 2006 and is buried in Lakewood Park Cemetery, Rocky River, Cuyahoga, Ohio. Images next page.