The other officer burned to death when the C-47 burned. His remains were recovered from Burma and India then buried in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 15 February 1950 (Sec. C-4, Grave 7970). He was awarded the Purple Heart.


His father, Chester McKusick Harris, born 27 April 1895, served in the U.S. Army during WW I, a Private. He registered for the WW I draft on 5 June 1917, resided at 704 N. Lake St., Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was a motion picture operator employed by the New Garrick Theater and was single. He died 2 May 1967 and is buried in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery (Sec. O, Grave 1648).



On 1 September 1944, a C-47, # 43-15802, assigned to 10th Air Force, 3rd Combat Cargo Group, 11th Combat Cargo Squadron, departed the airfield at Dinjan, India, on a food supply drop mission in Burma, to return to Dinjan airfield. It was last contacted by radio 30 minutes from Dinjan airfield. Its crash was deemed a battle casualty. The crew were:


                                           Pilot                             2ndLt Leland S. O’Reilly Jr.                 0-533758

                                           Co-Pilot                       2ndLt Howard P. Leahy Jr.                   0-675242

                                           Radio Operator            Cpl Claude S. Adams Jr.                      33213114

                                           Dropper                       Pvt Millard F. Hatfield                         35773539

                                           “                                  Pvt Paul A. Sheetz                                37540388

                                           “                                  Pvt Jack C. Stephen                             38335390


Radio contact was with Cpl. Sam P. Glush, 36553554, and Sgt. Alfred C. Mueller, 36337824.


Mrs. Elsie O’Reilly, mother of 2ndLt O’Reilly, Charleston, Missouri, wrote for information. She wrote that the commanding officer of her son’s unit wrote a friend of her son and said they had located the C-47 on 1 November 1944 and it had not burned. It was in a mountainous and wooded location. They flew over it and took pictures of the wreckage but, it was impossible to get there.


The 11th Combat Cargo Squadron, had no information to add to the MACR and 1352nd AAF Base Unit had none. The crash location was not found. Searches along the flight route saw several aircraft wrecks that were not identifiable from the air. The 1352nd AAF Base Unit was to investigate the wrecks. The 11th Combat Cargo Squadron was unaware of any letter to 2ndLt O’Reilly’s friend.

Extensive search failed to locate the C-47A. Search and rescue aircraft flew the probable routes and adjacent areas for ten months to no avail. The Burmese natives of the area are extremely cooperative and no report has been received from them.