BECK, NICHOLAS RAYMOND, Second Lieutenant, # 0-703168, USAAF
Nicholas R. Beck was born in 1922 in Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan, to Carl Raymond Beck (1893-1967) and Louise Josephine (Mertes) Beck (1892-1972). Siblings included Frances Beck (1923-1923), Leah Catherine (Beck) Vanheusden (1925-2003), Victor Philip Beck (1926-2017), Vera Miriam (Beck) Higgins (1928-2010), Josephine Ann (Beck) Illsley (1930-1990), William Carl Beck (1932-1981), Rosemary (Beck) Butler (1934-2016), and Richard J. Beck (1936- ).
After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed instruction through advanced schools as a dual role – navigator and bombardier, for the B-25 Mitchell. He earned his commission and 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, Victor P. Beck, born in 1926, enlisted in the USAAF at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, 15 March 1945. He died 17 February 2017 in Los Angeles Co., California. His brother, William C. Beck, born 14 June 1932, served in the U.S. Army from 132 January 1957 to 11 July 1957. He died 28 January 1981 in Wayne Co., Michigan.