HUMMEL, ROBERT BENTON, Captain, # 0-372922, USAAF


Robert B. Hummel was born on 14 March 1917 in Delphi, Carroll Co., Indiana, to Benton Larue Hummel (1892-1971) and Edith Ellen (Hunt) Hummel (1892-1967) (married 4 April 1914, IN). He had two brothers, Charles McClellan Hummel (1922-1978), Richard Larue Hummel (1925-1992). He was married to Sarah Virginia (Holden) Hummel (1916-1998) and the marriage was on 29 June 1939 in Blacksburg, Virginia. She lived at Box 31, Blacksburg, Virginia, in 1942. His father was a Professor at Virginia Polutechnic Institute (Virginia Tech).


After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced schools and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 30 October 1944, a B-25H, # 43-4968, assigned to 10th Air Force, 12th Bomb Group, 82nd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Feni, India, on a bombing mission over the Mu River by-pass. The B-25H was last seen on a course of 360º at 9,800 feet as it disappeared through an overcast over the jungles of Burma. Witnesses were 1stLt George D. Carpenter, 0-479418, TSgt Walter B. Marsh, 12034601, and SSgt Elton D. Shinpoch, 7009428. TSgt Marsh reported that he was the radio operator-gunner in the lead B-25 and had completed the bomb run and were RTB when they flew into monsoon weather. Shortly after entering the monsoon, he saw Capt. Hummel descend, pass under their B-25’s tail, barely missing it. That B-25 flew to the right in a turn 90º from their lead B-25. When last seen, that B-25 was descending. 1stLt Carpenter reported that on their return course, he climbed through an alto stratus cloud at 1126 hours. Before entering it, the missing B-25 dropped back as ig he was going to change position. He did not do this but continued to bear right. TSgt Marsh kept 1stLt Carpenter informed of the course of the B-25. During its descent and turn, the B-25 disappeared in the overcast. SSgt Shinpoch reported that during the return to base, and about 30-4 miles from Feni airfield, the missing B-25 slid in and out of position several times. He last saw the B-25 slide out of sight then suddenly shot past their tail, left to right and descended almost vertically, barely missing their tail. He is remembered on the memorial wall of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.


His brother, Charles M. Hummel, born in 1922, was a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, enlisted 12 September 1942, during WW II. His brother Richard L. Hummel, born in 1925, was a Second Lieutenant in the USAAF, enlisted 21 November 1943. The family, except Captain Robert B. Hummel, are at rest in the Westview Cemetery, Blacksburg, VA.

Robert B. Hummel

Charles M. Hummel