WALDEN, BENNIE HILLMAN, Staff Sergeant, # 14140075, USAAF


Bennie H. Walden was born on 26 October 1919 in Quitman, Georgia, to Grover Cleveland Walden (1884-1922) and Bennie Vera (Pitts) Walden (1882-1961) (married on 7 July 1912, Mitchell, GA). His sister was Sarah (Walden) Neill (1916-1994).


He registered for the WW II draft on 1 July 1941, resided at 48 Longview St., Carrollton, GA, was a student at Anderson Aircraft School, 119 16th Ave, South, Nashville, TN, and described himself as 5’8”, 115 lbs, with blond hair and blue eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, GA, on 16 October 1942. He was trained in the maintenance and repair of the mechanical parts of the Curtiss Aircraft C-46 Commando (engineer). He earned his crewman wings, He was sent overseas to India. On 5 December 1944, a C-46D-1GK, # 42-96815, assigned to the Combat Cargo task Force,4th Combat Cargo Group, 13th Combat Cargo Squadron, Sylhet, India, departed the airfield at Myitkyina, Burma, on a cargo mission to the airfield at Sookerating, India. Last radio contact was at 1200Z when it was in or near the Pangshu Pass. Last to contact it was SSgt Vincent Michetti, 12185993, and last to sight it was 1stLt Kenneth E. Ely, 0-735371. 1stLt Ely reported that he was pilot of # 42-101189, which departed Myitkyina, Burma, at 1015Z, 5 Dec. 1944, two minutes behind 42-96815. He landed at Sookerating at 1125Z. The other C-46 was in sight most of the flight. When they reached Pangshu Pass, it was about 1050Z. He was about 5 miles right of course at about 8,500’. The other C-46 was on course and slightly ahead. After flying over the pass, he flew into overhead and lost sight of the other C-46. He had no more contact with Garrett. The C-46 crashed in the Pangsau Pass, India, and the crew perished. After recovery from the American military airfield cemetery in Barrackpore, India, his crew and his remains were buried in a common grave (three caskets) in the Mills Springs National Cemetery, Perryville, Kentucky, on 10 August 1949 (Sec. D, Grave 790A & B). He left $1,100.00 in U.S. Treasury bonds to his sister.