In Honored Glory!
AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION
World War II Honor Roll

Benjamin R. Whiteker

First Lieutenant 
U.S. Army Air Forces

Service # 0-718815

394th Bomber Squadron, 
5th Bomber Group, Heavy

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: April 30, 1945
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart


FIRST LIEUTENANT BENJAMIN WHITEKER led a B-24 bomber crew which included Staff Sergeant Rocco Piligno of Camden, New Jersey. Flying a B-24M serial #44-41869 and ssigned to the 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bomb Group, 13th Air Force, Lieutenant Whitaker and his crew were killed in Action on April 30, 1945 while on a combat mission over Davao, Mindanao, Philippine Islands, when his aircraft collided with another B-24, serial #44-41541, and crashed into the sea. The pilot of the other aircraft was First Lieutenant. Benjamin B. Smith.  

On the 30 April 30, 1945, the 394th Bomb Squadron  took off from Guiuan Air Strip, Samar Island, Philippine Islands, for a combat bombing mission on Davao, Mindanao Island, Philippine Islands.  The flight to, and over the target, was successful.  After they had completed dropping there bombs, they proceeded toward Morotai Island, in the Molucca Islands, where they planned to land.

They were approximately thirty miles from Morotai Island, near Race Island, flying in their usual formation, when two of the airplanes in the formation collided.  B-24M Serial No. 44-41869 and B-24L Serial No. 44-41541.  The collision damaged both planes severely, causing them to crash into the ocean immediately.  There were no survivors on either aircraft, and only one of the bodies was recovered, that of F/O Arthur B. Sobol, T-128 478, after a through search had been made by surface craft and low flying search aircraft.

Benjamin Whiteker was from Sunrise, Kentucky. He had attended college at Georgetown College in Kentucky before the war. Rather than wait for the draft he enlisted in the Army's Air Corps, and successfully underwent training to be a bomber pilot.

In 2009 Dan Clifford, a distant cousin of Lt. Whiteker came into possession of some letters that he had written to his sister, Mrs. Bobbie Bramel and her husband Bob, written during his training and after he had gone overseas, as well as a picture of his flight crew. Mr. Clifford was kind enough to provide these to the website. The letters are quite revealing about both the military duties and everyday concerns of the people involved at the time.

Although the names of the crew members are known, only two of the crew have been identified. If you can identify any of the other men in the picture below, please e-mail me.

Phil Cohen
February 27, 2009  


Letters from Benjamin Whiteker before he went overseas

Addressed to: Mrs. Desha Whiteker, Sunrise, KY * From: Ben Whiteker, Georgetown College

Jan. 22, 1937

Dear Folks: 

I was very glad to have received your letter. Wished you would have written more. How is every body at home. What are you doing now? Concerning myself, I might say that I have not been feeling so well this week and now my wisdom tooth or where it is supposed to be is swollen up and is ____. Wayne and her crowd was over this morning; they just left though I didnít get to talk with them. The boys liked my suit very much. Thought the shirt was very classy It has been raining all week but I think itís going to clear off. Tincy, let me know what you make on exams. Hope you succeed without any trouble. The way I see it now, I have my last exam on Thursday Ė 2 p.m. I can come home on Thursday night but if youíre coming over to straighten up business I can wait until Friday morning. 

Concerning the present problem that faces me. I could present a better argument if I could talk to you. The main thing is that I absolutely donít like it. Iím tired of it. There is too much routine and regularity. Iím not homesick, I could pass any course offered, within the bounds of the freshman curriculum but I just donít want to come. I donít like the idea of somebody else raising my tobacco. If its O.K. with you I would like to stay at home and raise tobacco and be with every body around Sunrise and be a clod hopper. I donít like these sophisticated and diplomatic educators. Too much class. If I should stop school I do not intend to go to the city. I could stay at home Ė say a year and return to school. School is a snap Ė but on the other hand it is trite and monotonous. 

I know how you feel and I can place my self in your position and if you insist Iíll stick it out though it is a drudge. Georgetown and Georgetown college to me are even a smaller world than Sunrise but its not that I donít like the college Ė just like to see how it felt to be out of school during the months of Feb., March, & April, _____ Daddy has spent a lot of money for clothes etc and I know the approximate amount of which I will pay him back if necessary. Well thatís all I have time to write. I talk to you when you come over. 

Love

Ben


Georgetown, Ky

Dear Daddy, Mammy, De, Ruth, Tincy, Louis, Mack and Keevil: 

How are all the folks? If you had been here ten minutes after you left Friday I would have come home with you. Though I fell like crying, I did not. Now I like it much better since having become better aquainted with the place. I have made friends with several boys including a one Byron Gerkings from Louisville who is a very good fellow who lives in a room in the gym. As you know I made A class in the placement test and registered by 4:00 late Friday afternoon receiving the following schedule and courses:

MONTUEWEDTHUFRISATIFrench II**IIScience 9*IIIEng II A**IVMusic 7*VHist 9VIPhy. Ed

I donít guess I will be sending any clothes home this week as I am planning to come home the week end of the musquitters Fair. I can either come home via Hitchhiking or you can come after but I can hitchhike as I have no classes on Saturday afternoon. I have classes every day in the week excepting Sunday go to noon day prayers meetings at 1:15 SO FAR. I worked the greater portion of Saturday was pretty tired that nite. I have attended two or three little get-aquainted parties and talks the different profs. I have had a little trouble dodging do good fraternity brothers wanting me to join the Fraternity and that Fraternity. The following things are the ones that I need pretty badly: 1 wash pan, bookends, ashtray, pair shoes which I shall get when at home and a powder puff. I could use a bath robe. I have decided that I do not need that. I have met several upper classmen that know Marshall Foley well and also Bobby. Many of the old profs. Know Uncle Eureka. As I have a class Saturday morning I will not be able to ride to Cyn. With Dr. McIlvain. I have a pretty good chance to get into the Orchestra, Band and Glee Club. I think I will starve on corn flakes toast and tomato soup and mile though the grub is becoming a little more substantial. Mable is coming along alright and I saw Uncle John BT Adaline and Elizabeth late Monday afternoon. Everyone you see over here is a preacher or a ministerial student. I also need some old clothes such as a jacket and the black shirt that I got from Jesse. I am writing this about 8:00 PM Sunday therefore have not made any arrangements for books. I sold my brown shoes to Byron Gerkins for ($3.00) three dollars with which money I am planning to buy another pair. I could not wear them ten steps with out torture. I gave $.10 for this stationery at the drug store at which I took the card through the mail. The free gift package included a razor and some nose drops etc not so hot eh? I attended B.Y.P.U. to night Ė a fair program. So with the thought of seeing you Saturday night or Sunday morning I remain 

Yours with much love

Ben Whiteker

P.S. name whatsoever? If you want to write back to my address is just Pauling Hall Geo. College. Geo Ky. P.S. (no. 3) I also need a pair of bed room slippers very bad.


Only Four More Days 

You ask what is so dramatic about four more days? Well Iím going to tell you. Suppose you had only four more days to do something that really would be a milestone in your life, wouldnít you give out with a little concern over those four days. Well sir, thatís my predicament and thatís precisely what Iím doing. In this great conflict that will decide how we and our posterity shall survive, as you all know, a great many young gentlemen ďwithin the required age limitsĒ are mustered into the conflict and a great many more shall be. This situation accounts for the ďfour more days Iím speaking of. 

Briefly, I too am being mustered in. In fact I have only four more days to live, or exist as the case may be in civilian environment. Since I have no suspicions of the future I can content myself with some very pleasant and resourceful memories. But theyíre like a dream. I donít seem able to grasp them. They just float by out of reach. Did you ever have a cold drink of water to hit you in the bottom of your stomach when same was empty? My friends thatsa how an induction order affects one. However the strange feeling was short lived in my case since I possibly do not have such a horror of entering as might others. Never the less one senses a climax, a strange undertaking, a pleasant adventure but maybe not so pleasant. Itís a change that since it is certain it is looked forward to. 

At this point I will contradict my self and peer into the future. I see that regardless whether heís in the next apartment , on the next farm or in the next pup tent or fox hole weíre going to have to live by him. How shall we conduct ourselves? Good or bad? O yes! I see the fireworks and hear the great blasts and all that stuff but I wonít cross till I get to the bridge I Ė

This bit of meditation is like that great Symphony it is unfinished. 

Air Cadet Benjí R. Whiteker 


Addressed to: Mrs. Bob Bramel, Berry School, Berry, Kentucky

From: A.C. Ben Whiteker,
U.S. Army, Company K, Reception Center, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana 

Jan. 28, Ď43

Dear Bobby: Was sorry I couldnít see you before I left but you know how funny It worked out. Bob was over at Browns last night for supper. I made good connections over here. Got here this a.m. at 11:30. Now Iíve had supper am preparing to retire. Will leave here early in morning so donít write any letters until I give a permanent address. Several guys here from Ky, O, W.va & Ind. About 25 of us. A lot of them are real nice fellas. Iíll write at soonest possible date

Sincerely

Ben


Addressed to: Mrs. Joella Bramel, Berry Hi. School, Berry, Kentucky
From: Pvt. Ben Whiteker, A.S.N. 15195885, 404T.SS. Brks 502, Sheppard Field, Texas

2 Ė 11 Ė 43

Dear Bobby, 

I got a letter from you a couple of days ago. Iíve also gotten letters from Mammy & Ruth a nice and appropriate valentine from Tincy. Iíve been rationing my letters because my time is pretty well limited. There is something to be done every day. I havenít even started my civilian clothes home yet. But I expect to today or tomorrow. I hope that low temp. weather youíre having has subsided. Weíve been having some freak weather down here. Day before yesterday the temp. was 75 degrees. Nite before last the temp. fell 50 degrees in 3 hrs. However natives of this locality say this phenomena is not uncommon. It keeps me busy changing from summer to long handles and visa-versa. Hope you are getting along O.K. I am. I donít anticipate being here over 6 or 7 weeks. Tincy and Mammy sent me some pks. Including cigarettes, towels, hanks, toilet articles etc. Iíll try to send some snapshots home soon. I have my camera now. Louis was lucky wasnít he? I havenít written to D. I have no ___ mail forms but Ruth is sending me some. I canít buyíem here on post. Incidently Iím just writing on a boxtop. So if you will, please buy and send me a writing folio to hold paper envelopes & stamps. It is a leather folder something similar to read thin brief case only, it opens like a book and is about 10Ē by 12Ē or in that vicinity. What ever they cost Iíll send back to you. Write whenever you can and I will. 

Sincerely

Ben

Addressed to: Joella Bramel, Berry School, Berry, Kentucky
From: Pvt. B. Whiteker, A.A.F. A.C.D. University of Wichita, Wichita, Kansas

3-1-43

Dear Bobby: 

Iím really getting around the country donít you think? I left Sheppard Field early Fri. morn and I got in here about 10:00 p.m. Fri nite. So now Iím going back to college only this time its free and a university namely, The University of Wichita. Itís a nice big school and everybody treats us royally here I will take up a five month study period of: math, psychics, History, Geography, English, Civil Air Regulations First Aid, Interior guard duty and psychical education. I will receive college hrs. of credit for the work I do here. That will be alright wonít it? 

Incidently my address is: Pvt. Benjamin R. Whiteker Army Air Forces, Air Crew Detachment University of Wichita Wichita, Kansas. Please write my address as above not as I write it on the envelope. 

There are about 500 of us in this outfit with no other soldiers or camps around and the people really gaze at us. I went into Wichita yesterday p.m. and had a nice time. It is a large town of over 200,000 pop. A big factory town. Probably I have letters etc coming thru via Sheppard Fed. but they will catch up with me in a few days. 

How is Tincy and Mammy getting along with the car. I hope they donít retrain from driving it just because its mine for if I had not wanted them to drive it, I would have sold it before I left. We will go to class with the civilian students and I suppose study hard like them Incidently my bunk mate (we sleep in double bunks) owns two degrees in engineering from Purdue U. Can you imagine him going back for _____ weíll get here. But I think heíll be of invaluable assistance to me, donít you? Well, Iíd better shut down. Write when you can I hope everyone is O.K.

Sincerely

Ben


Addressed to: Joella Bramel, Berry School, Berry, Kentucky
From: Pvt. B. Whiteker, A.A.F. Air Crew Detachment, University of Wichita, Wichita, Kansas

3-5-43

Dear Bobby: 

I received your packages this morning. Was sure glad to get them. Although they came through via Sheppard Field they were in good condition. The cake was exceptionally fresh and tasted real good. I just came back from my first class. It was a geography class. I will have two more classes today namely Psychics & History. The weather here is quite different from Texas. It snowed all nite last nite and is still snowing now and pretty cold. 

I got a letter from Mammy & Tincy and Ruth yesterday. Mammy says I have relatives here if I have Iíll look them up. You should be able to get some recaps by now Mammy said she had hers & Tincys recapped. I hope Mammy and Tincy enjoys the car I want them to drive it Have you paid your income tax yet. I havenít done anything about mine yet but I expect to sometime soon.

This college outfit here for us is a new undertaking for everyone concerned so everything canít be done in a jiffy. All the officers together only have one typewriter. I told Mammy that Iíd be here five months but there are 500 of us here. We are divided into groups according to the grade we made on the cadet exam at Sheppard Fld. There are five groups. The first group will leave in one month, the 2nd in two months and so on. Weíre not supposed to know when we leave. For that reason I suspect that Iíll be here around 3 months. This is my opinion. Since I wrote the above Iíve had a psychics class and a history class. This course is going to be as tough if not harder than ordinary college work. Itís going to take a lot of hard study I think. (eg.) Geography is not just ordinary psyhical geography but is a study of the earthís surface in regard to political science and the present world situation along with a lab. course of map projection. However Iím sure that if I apply myself, and I think I will, I wonít have too much trouble. 

The folio is O.K. It has more endurance than an ordinary cardboard box. As itíll be put in my duffle bag and taken out quite often. Iím quartered in the top floor (3rd) of a mens dormitory they call it Fiske Hall. Did I tell you that the pres of this univ., President Jardine, was Sec. of Agriculture under Coolidge and was ambassador to Egypt. And a fine man. 

Tomorrow nite we attend a dance given by the combined sororities. It will be informal. Well Iíd better quit. I might go to the library. Write when you can and thanks for the cake. 

Sincerely 

Ben

P.S. Let me know what the folio cost so I can reimburse you


Addressed to: Joella Bramel, Berry, Kentucky
From: Pvt. Benjamin R. Whiteker,
85th College Training Detachment (Air Crew) Flight F Ė Squadron III,
Municipal University of Wichita, Wichita, Kansas

4-8-43

Dear Bobby, 

Howís everything at the knowledge factory. Iím sorry Iíve neglected writing but I am kept pretty busy. Everyday is generally a pretty full day and I donít believe this course can be passed without some pretty concentrated study. However I think I can afford to do a little writing. I got a letter from home yesterday. Thereís not much around there to write about. That was bad about Charles Arnold getting hurt. Iíll have to write Ruth and get the particulars huh? They really send Dumpy across the country didnít they/ Oh yes. I got a letter from Uncle Wes yesterday. He said I had a lot of relatives living here in Wichita including several Blades & some Whitekers. 

I sent the folks a post card with a picture of this campus on it. You can look at it some time when youíre at home. This is a pretty nice campus and school. Iíll send you some U of W stickers fro your car. I had 3 pictures made of myself last week. Iíll get the prints Sat. They cost me $7.00. Iíll probably send them all home and you can have one if you want it. I wrote D. yesterday. I write him once a week. You write him as often as possible for I know from experience that he likes to get letters. Lots of fells here get confined over weekends to the post for delinquent grades but as yet I havenít been confined. Well I canít think of much to write so Iíll knock off. Write when you can. 

Sincerely

Ben

P.S. Hows Bob getting along. How is his draft status. I suppose heís still working.


ddressed to: Joella Bramel, Berry High School, Berry, Kentucky
From: Pvt. Benjamin R. Whiteker,
85th College Training Detachment (Air Crew) Flight F Ė Squadron III,
Municipal University of Wichita, Wichita, Kansas

5-6-43

Dear Bobby, 

Sorry I donít get around to writing to you more often but they keep us on the ball pretty much. I donít write so much as I used to. I got a letter from home yesterday. They said you had moved to Cyn. On Pike St. but didnít give number so Iím sending this to Berry School. Did Bob get a military leave from the shop or what. I guess Ruth gave up the idea of leaving Dayton, although I believe sheíd be better satisfied closer to home. The weather remains very good out here. We changed from wool uniforms to kahki last Saturday. Theyíre much cooler Ďthough they donít fit quite so good. I get a letter from ďDĒ about every week. He seems pretty well satisfied but he never has much to say. 

We certainly have a fine lot of instructors here; each one is a master in his respective field. Your school will soon be out wonít it? Are you going to G-town this summer. If I were going to be here all summer; it would be nice for you to attend U of W. Not much to write & Iím rushed for time so Iíll close. Write. 

Sincerely

Ben


Addressed to Mr. Bob Bramel, 323 E. Pike Street, Cynthiana, Kentucky
From: A-S Ben Whiteker,
Sqd. 107. Brks 6537, A.A.F.C.C. 0 S.A.A.C.C., San Antonio Tex

6-9-43

Dear Bobbie, 

Sorry I havenít written sooner. But Iíve been pretty busy and I have lost your address. So until I got your letter today I didnít know where to write to. Never the less was glad to hear from you. There isnít much to write about. I suppose you know that I was classified for pilot. Tr. Etc.

Being a Flt. Lieut I am kept pretty busy Itís not only warm here its hot. But weíre only 100 miles from the gulf so its cloudy quite a bit and rains about every week. I went over to Randolf, Field. Yesterday and I went thru some experimental psychical exams. They took my blood pressure by using needles & instrument for recording pressure. Then I was put in a pressure chamber and the air pressure was decreased to simulate an altitude of 38,000 ft at which point I had a slight case of bends (aeroembolism). Many of the fellows passed out at 25,000 to 35,000 ft. but I made it. 

It is one of the most beautiful fields I ever saw. I guess Bob is preparing to go in if he gets on a post or field he likes he should apply for permanent party. Well Iíve run out of subjects so Iíll quit Iíll try to write a little oftener Ė 

forever

Ben


Addressed to Mr. Bob Bramel, 323 E. Pike Street, Cynthiana, Kentucky
From: A/S Ben Whiteker,
Sqd 107 Ė Brks 6537, A.A.F.C.C. Ė S.A.A.C.C., San Antonio, Tex.

6-9-43

Dear Bob, 

Sorry I havenít gotten around to writing sooner but my time has been pretty well employed. Then too I havenít known your latest address. But I got a letter from Bobbie today so that Iíd better write. Howís the lumber business. I suspect that the assembly job was a little easier picking huh. Anyway I presume it wonít last long since Uncle Sammy has other plans for you. Which brings me to the basic reason for this letter. It has come to my attention that you are in Ruthí s debt; the sum of fifteen dollars ($15). Having been in the Army a short while I know that getting hold of cash in the Army is easier said than done. In view of these circumstances I would appreciate it if you would settle this little obligation as soon as possible. Hoping you give this matter your immediate attention, I remain,

Sincerely Yours.

Ben.


Addressed to Mr. Joella Bramel, 77 Hoffman Ave, Dayton, Ohio
From: A/S Ben Whiteker,
Sqd 107 Ė Brks 6537, A.A.F.C.C. Ė S.A.A.C.C., San Antonio, Tex.

Sun. A.M. 7-11-43

Dear Bobby 

I got your letter just before I came over from classification center and am just now getting around to answering it for they are really keeping us busy around here. We are on a seven day schedule and except for 2 hrs off on Sunday Morn, it is carried out. We have Psyhical Tr & drill every morning and classes every afternoon. I am taking Code, Math, Naval vessels and Aircraft identification I might say that I am quite proficient at code already. I know the alphabet and can take 5 or 6 words per minute I hope to get out of here in about nine weeks. Although it isnít so bad except for the heat which is terrific and the dust is bad too But it is cooler today for it rained last night. The food is exceptionally good Ice Cream & cake or pie every meal. Ham & eggs or bacon & eggs or pan cakes for breakfast. Plenty of ice tea lemonade and milk Ė Pork chops & steaks galore. Ė well quit ďdrooling.Ē 

Is Bob working at Frigidaire now? When does school reopen. I havenít heard from D. since Iíve been here. Ė maybe this week.I went to church this A.M. Nice chapel and the place was crowded fellows were sitting in the pulpit and every place. The chaplin is the soldiers best friend. I better quit Ė write

Ben.


Addressed to Mrs. Joella Bramel, 224 Ĺ Forrest Ave, Dayton, Ohio
From: A/C Ben Whiteker,
15195882, Wing II, Gpw. Brk.8230, A.A.F.P.S.(pilot) Ė S.A.A.C., San Antonio, Tex.

Sun. 8-12-43

Dear Bobby, 

I received your card today and realized that I had failed to send you one on your birthday. So instead of sending you a delayed one that you would rather have a letter for which Iím meaning this. Mammy sent me a real nice bracelet with my name on it and I got a card from Ruth and several others. Its still awfully not down here, but I think I only have about 2 Ĺ weeks more to stay. I got a letter from ďDĒ. today, He didnít have much to say Heís not a very good letter writer. He said he got $79 per month which is pretty good. Iím going to town tomorrow Ė the second time since Iíve been here. My grades are very good, particularly code. Iím taking 12 words per minute which is good considering the time Iíve been on it. I guess Ruth is really going home for good Ė so she says. I donít blame her much. Well it wonít be long before school starts. I guess youíll be glad Ė huh? Well I better quit for now. Write anytime.

Sincerely Ė 

Ben


Addressed to Mrs. Joella Bramel, Berry, Kentucky
From: A/C Ben Whiteker, Class 44_E. Victory Field, Vernon, Texas

9-29-43

Dear Bobby, 

No doubt you. Too have been wondering why I havenít written to you sooner but I have been reluctant to do so in that I wasnít sure of your whereabouts. So Iíll drop you a few lines and elaborate on this flying game that Iím in. Its raining cats and dogs here now. More rain than Iíve seen since Iíve been in. So weíre grounded today and I have a little free time to catch up on my writing 

Here as has been the case in all previous phases of my tr. I am on a very strenuous schedule. We have ground school half of the day and fly the other half. One week we fly in the morning the next week in the afternoon. In ground school Iím taking Air Navigation & Aircraft Engines. Both require quite a bit of concentrated study. But my average is well above 90%. As for the flying well you just canít understand the interest it holds unless you were going thru with it. I made my first solo a week ago Monday? I really felt funny up there by myself. I flew with my instructor 9 hrs. before he let me take it up. Now I check out a plane & a chute and go up for an hour or two.

Yesterday it was raining and I went up alone for two hours. And I went on above the clouds. I couldnít see the ground and the sun was shining, so you canít imagine the sensation one gets from this very common situation Had we flown today I would have had a check ride with the Squadron Commander. These are made at regular intervals to determine the students progress.

Quite a few of the fellows are being eliminated for divers reasons. Mostly for air-sickness and lack of flying aptitude along with intentional mistakes such as low flying, dangerous maneuvers etc. As for myself I conform strictly to the regulations, for Iíve spent too much time trying to get this far. If I get my wings, and I think and hope I will, Iíll get them about next March or April. I have two more 9 weeks periods after this one, but this is the main one to get thru for this is where one actually learns how to fly. 

As for the post-solo shower. They wait until after youíve changed into Class A uniform then they get you down and drag you thru a prepared mud hole then put you under a cold shower. This happens to all cadets immediately after they solo. But generally youíre so tickled about soloing that you donít mind the mud & shower. 

Vernon isnít much of a town but every one treats us fine. Guess youíve gotten settled down with your teaching. Hope you have a successful term. Drop me a few lines anytime and Iíll try to keep you informed of my flying progress. 

Sincerely

Ben

Received a nice card from Mr & Mrs Vest. Did sincerely appreciate it.


Addressed to Mrs. Joella Bramel, Berry School, Berry, Kentucky
From: A/C Ben Whiteker, 15195885, Cadet Detach GEAAF Basics, Garden City, Kansas

11-12-43

Dear Bobby, 

I got a letter from you today Was very glad to hear from you. I read in the Log Cabin of your directing the glee club. I guess you are all beginning to get a little winter down there. Its really winter out here. And Iíve got the worst cold, I believe I ever had. But I believe its getting a little better. On top of that weíre quarantined for Spinal Meningitis but I donít think that will last long, I hope. Iím a little worried about Ruth from what Iíve heard. I would think that she would had a little better reasoning but Iím sure she knows what sheís doing. Did she find a job in Cincy. Is Bob working in Cincinnati? Do the schools have basketball this year. I hadnít seen anything in the paper. 

I havenít heard from D. yet. I believe heíll get a furlough in the spring. I expect a leave (officers get leaves Ė not furloughs???) around April or May. Iím going to try to fly in. Ships are hard to get for personal Cross Country. This is a nice plane we fly. Its big and beautiful & powerful. And seems alive. Iím glad you liked the book. We get one here too. Did you see the picture I sent home. You donít necessarily have to get me anything for Xmas. If you do, it neednít cost very much. Well Iíd better quit. Its about time for chow. Write anytime you can.

Sincerely

Ben.


Addressed to Mrs. Robert Bramel, Berry School, Berry, Kentucky
From: A/C Ben Whiteker, 15195885, Cadet Detach GEAAF Basics, Garden City, Kansas

11-23-43

Dear Bobby, 

Got a letter from you yesterday along with seven others. Real glad to hear from you now and then. I particularly enjoy hearing from you, Tincy Ruth & Mammy, although I havenít heard from Ruth recently. How is she getting along? I hear that sheís working at a Kroger store. You asked what part of Kansas I was in. Well Garden City is located in the extreme South Western corner of the state not many miles from the Colorado line. I fly over into Colo. Every day and will probably make a cross-country hop to Denver before I leave here. Iíve flown so much the last 2 Ĺ mos. That I donít even enjoy it anymore. Its just work When I get to advanced Iíll make long + country flights lasting several days from home base. They go to Indianapolis, South Bend & Channute Field and points East. I think Iíll enjoy those. Hope I can make one to Patterson Fld. 

I got a letter from ďdĒ yesterday. He said he was a mail clerk. But we had figured that hadnít we? Well Iíll quit for now. Write anytime. 

Sincerely

Ben


Addressed to Mrs. Joella Bramel, Berry, Kentucky
From: A/C Ben Whiteker, 15195885, Cadet Detach GEAAF Basics, Garden City, Kansas

Dec. 13, 1943

Dear Bobby: 

Blest with the advantage of a little spare time, lost in the happy thoughts of home and Xmas, eagerly awaiting an answer to this short bit of communication, and comforted by the soft roar of a cozy fire, I shall drop you a few lines, as proof that I do think of you often, and to acknowledge receipt of a very nice Xmas card. As I said, the fire feels good as the snow is still on and it looks like more will fall. I guess Iím getting along O.K., although being held over due to being in the hosp., did slightly ďCramp my styleĒ But the extra time will permit me to take things just a bit easier. I guess youíre looking forward to the holidays and have acquired the spirit by now. How is Ruth getting along . . . Did she come to Sunrise to recuperate. She should have. I got a letter from Sous today but I havenít heard from D. recently. I should move anytime. Guess Bob is still working. Well Iíll quit for now. Write any time. 

Sincerely 

Ben


Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Joella Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815, 422 B.V. Sqdín T-4, T.A.A.F. Tonopah. Nev.

17 Sept, Ď44

Dear B & B, 

I received a letter from you the other day so Iíll be kinda prompt in answering. I flew all night last nite so Iím resting today. This flying really makes you tired. I sure did have a swell time in Los Angeles & H-wood and bought some clothes about $225 worth. You neednít buy and send me any clothing but any time you see any little thing that you think I might need you can get it. I can buy clothes cheap at Quartermaster. I donís know just when Iíll be leaving here now. There is a possibility that weíll stay a few weeks longer for more Tr. You seem to have quite a job on your hands with that many kids. Is the pay any better? Is Bob still with the R.R? I havenít heard from D for quite some time. Must drop him a few lines. Well thereís nothing to write about out here so will quit for now. Write anytime 

Sincerely 

Ben


Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Robert Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815, Sqdín T-4, Sec. I Box 213, T.A.A. F., Tonopah. Nev.

Oct 15, Ď44

Dear Bobbie: 

Well Iím just sitting around taking things easy. Itís a beautiful day here. I just got back from church. I go about every Sunday that I can. I havenít heard from you for quite some time now, but I suspect that I owe you a letter, however there isnít much to write about. I didnít get around to writing the folks for about two or three weeks. I think they Ďbout had a fit. Havenít heard from Louis or D for quite a while. Am just about finished up here. Rumor has it that weíll leave the 27th But I donít know for sure. Will no doubt go to Hamilton Field or Frisco. Guess every thing is going O.K. with you all. Will quit for now and write again when I learn something. Drop me a few lines anytime 

Sincerely 

Ben

 


Lt. Benjamin Whiteker's Bomber Crew
Lieutenant
Benjamin Whiteker is standing at far right.
Staff Sergeant
Leo Bender is kneeling, third from left
Staff Sergeant
Rocco Piligno is kneeling, fifth from left

Click on Image to Enlarge


Letters to and from Benjamin Whiteker after he went overseas

Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Robert Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815,
A.P.O. 713-1 F.E.A.F., C.R.T.C. Student Detach, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

New Guinea, 24 Nov. Ď44

Dear Bobby: 

Just a few lines. Had a nice trip over. Flew over in a little over 40 hrs. I sure have a good plane. Am now a genuine short snorter. Ran into Dumpy Mullin the other day farther up the line. Sure was surprised. We talked for 36 hrs. Sure did enjoy it. So far I kinda gotten a kick outa coming across. Had turkey for Thanksgiving. Otherwise the food is outa cans. Could sure tell you some interesting stories but theyíll probably get more interesting as time goes on. Howís Bob getting along Has D gotten in yet. Howís Louis getting along. Bet I run into Woodrow A. before its thru. I see Dorothy finally got hitched Iíse beginning to worry about her. Well must quit. Write as often as possible 

Sincerely 

Ben

_________________________________________________________

Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Robert Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815,
A.P.O. 713-1 F.E.A.F., C.R.T.C. Student Detach, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

New Guinea, Dec. 8, Ď44

Dear Bobby & Bob: 

Will drop you a few lines although there isnít too much out here to write about. I received my first letter from home today. Sure was glad to get it. Have been doing a little flying, just fooling around up in the blue. Its lot of fun when you donít have anything to do. I sure would like to take Bob up. Believe I could age him 20 yrs. In about 20 minutes. Iím sure living pretty close to nature out here. Things are, in some cases almost primitive. The sudden food contrast has been the most noticeable factor in the transition to combat. Combat rations are anything but caviar. I have already seen some unusual things and situations I could tell you some wonderful tales. However meeting Dumpsy over here was the coincidence of my life I nor he was ever so surprised in our lives. Is Bob still working on the Railroad. Guess you are anticipating a nice Christmas I see no reason why you shouldnít Havenít heard from D or Louis in a long while. I hope D has gotten home by now. Well I better quit. Heres wishing you will have or have already had a very merry Xmas. 

Sincerely Yours

Ben

________________________________________________________________________

Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Robert Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815, 
394th Bomb Sqd N.(h) 5th Bomb Gp.,A.P.O. 719, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

Netherlands East Indies. 26 Dec 44.

Dear Bobby: 

I write my letters according to priority. I believe you rate second. Since Iíve been in the army, a goodly number of my letters have been merely notices of change of address. Since I have to write quite a few, I make Ďem short and sweet as possible, so this is another notice of change of address. However, I believe it will be the only one Iíll use while Iím over here. This is quite an interesting place. We were congregated in the theatre (outdoor) the other nite singing Xmas Carols and right in the middle of ďNoelĒ Tojo came over and I dived in my foxhole and watched the fire works.

 It looked like a 4th of July we used to watch at Mother Arnoldís only more so. Take it from me a Nip bomber makes a beautiful explosion up there in the nite sky. Although my hairs were turning grey one by one in a mannerly fashion I couldnít keep from peeping. I almost liked it. In an awesome sort of a way 

Weíre now in the process of building our tent. Its going to be good. Send me some garden seeds Ė Tomatoes, Radishes, Cantalooupe: Watermelon and any thing else thatís edible ____?? Also some flower seeds. We had a fair G.I. Christmas dinner. Turkey etc & G.I. version of pie and cake. But it was good considering what we usually have had. I had one old letter catch up with me since I left the states. I donít know a thing about Louis or D. Havenít heard from Ruth in months. Wish sheíd write. Whats she doing now. Iíve sent several pictures home. You get some of the. I donít things will be too rough over here. Well Iíll quit for now Hope youíve had a wonderful xmas. And my best wishes to you both for a happy and successful new year. 

Sincerely 

Ben

________________________________________________________________________

Addressed to Mrs. Bob Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815,
394th B. Sqd N.(H) 5th B. Gp.,A.P.O. 719, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

The Malluccas Is. Jan. 21, Ď45

Dear Bobbie: 

I received 5 letters today including one from Mammy two from Tincy and one from you dated Jan. 2. Yours contained the snapshots which I appreciated very much I must say that for most part they must have had a very nice Christmas at home this year. I sure was glad that D got in and you were the first to let me know that Louis had too. Bet he looked like a bear. My most recent news came in a letter from Mammy, which got here yesterday. It was mailed on Jan 10 and to my present address. It took only ten days getting here. I am sure that D was glad to get back and see everybody again. Today being Sunday I am not doing very much. Will probably go to the show tonite. I go about every nite and most of the shows are pretty good. Now and then we have a U.S.O. stage show but theyíre not so good. Went to church this A.M. itís a big tent a few hundred feet away. As a result of services this morning they held a Baptizing this P.M. Although it was of secondary interest, still the fact that it was conducted off a coral reef of this, a little tropical island in the Pacific, was very unique and impressive. Tincy sent me a newspaper clipping about D. He should enjoy a few weeks in Miami. Mammy told me that Ray B. & Woodrow had met recently. Some day when Iím up that way Iíll set down and try to look them up. Well there isnít much to write so will quit for now. Sure glad to hear from any of you anytime.

Sincerely

Ben

________________________________________________________________________

Addressed to Mrs. Bob Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815,
394th B. Sqd N.(H) 5th B. Gp.,A.P.O. 719, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

The Malluccas Is Is., Feb. 8, Ď45

Dear Bobby & Bob: 

Although there isnít much to write about from here, will drop you a few lines anyway just so youíll get a letter from me. I hate to try to write when I donít have anything to write about. Havenít heard from you or home in a few days, but should today or tomorrow. Havenít received any packages either but that isnít unusual since it takes from 2 Ĺ to 3 Ĺ mos. For pkgs. To get over here. But Iíll finally get them. I hear that Louis finally got in on a furlough. I had a letter from ďDĒ yesterday. Heís as you know, in Virginia. Said he was going to school again. He should get another furlough again this summer sometime. 

I got all my Enlisted Men arcsed another grade. They are sergeants Four of them will be S/Sgtís & two will be T/Sgts. That will be quite a lot of rank for kids But I guess they will deserve it. The Air Corps is pretty good to its Combat flying personell. I think perhaps we will be moving from this base pretty soon. You can probably guess our destination although it isnít Tokyo just yet. Havenít been doing too much flying the last few days. Just sorta take it by spurts. I hear the draft is blowing around Sunrise Iím wondering if Bob will be affected. Well Iíll quit for now. Write 

Sincerely

Ben

________________________________________________________________________

Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Robert Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815,
394th B. Sqd N.(H) 5th B. Gp.,A.P.O. 719, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

Malluccas Is., 25 Feb. Ď45

Dear Bobby: 

Will try and drop you a few lines although I believe you owe me a letter. Its Sun. morning here and raining cats and dogs. But we have a good tent, so itís pretty comfortable around here. Actually I believe itís been raining incessantly for 5 or 6 days. Makes flying slightly hazardous and we log plenty instrument time. 

We flew yesterday, a very interesting mission Ė one of those hair raising ones. Started out from base and never saw the sky or ocean for 4 solid hrs. Ė on instruments all the way to rendezvous point. Then we joined the formation and went on over the target in the clear. C.A.V.U. (ceiling and visibility unlimited). Over the target we got so much ack-ack you could get out and walk on it almost. Then on the breakaway the enemy fighters jumped. They play around out of range doing stunts and all at once they zoom up, peel off, do a wingover and fly a ďpursuit curveĒ straight down thru the formation. Itís a funny feeling to see them diving down on you and see the blazes of fire spouting out of their machine guns. And they all seemed to be aiming at me personally. Then they float past your cockpit window and split Ė s. away from the formation I darsay the rate of closure is 7 or 800 m.p.h. But we werenít idle. Every one of my gunners were throwing quite a few slugs themselves. My nose gunner got one ďprobableĒ I observed hits on the interceptorís Nacelle.

No body got hurt but we got some holes in my plane. Iíd say it was a pretty good show. So you see combat can be interesting as well as boring. However I donít advise that sort of ďShenanigansĒ as a good way to pass the time. Well so much for the ďSnow Job.Ē 

Iíve been hearing from home quite frequently. Everyone seems O.K. around there Had two letters from ďDĒ. Said he was going to clerk & typist school. Can you imagine ďDĒ a steno. Havenít heard from Louis in a long time. Havenít received any packages as yet. But they should be coming thru in a week or so. I see the draft hit Har. Co. pretty hard this mo. Hope it gets down around Sunrise. How is Bob making out with the draft. I should think his status would leave him out. Guess the snow isnít shutting down our school. I hear it did at Sunrise & Odd. I think we will be moving to a new and more forward base You can easily guess the general location. But I donít think my address will be changed. Well not much to write about from here so will quit for now. Hope every body is O.K. & write. 

Sincerely 

Ben

________________________________________________________________________

Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Bob Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815,
394th B. Sqd N.(H) 5th B. Gp.,A.P.O. 719, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

Malluccas Is., Mar. 2, Ď45

Dear Bobby: 

I got one letter today and that one was from you. So Iíve nothing else to do so Iíll answer back real quick like. I had letters from Mammy & Woodrow yesterday. I expect to see woodie in the next few days. I enjoyed getting the clippings but Iíd already had two different bunches of the draftees. That draft is really surprising a lot of the boys. Got the clipping of me & D & Louis. But when you send in news of me. Write it something like this: Lt B.R.W. Liberator pilot, stationed with the Thirteenth Bomber Command of the Far Eastern Airforces has completed 20 missions against Jap. Installations in the South West Pacific area etc, etc, etc. __________. 

Iíve been having a little trouble with Jap fighters recently but we donít fool with them much. My nose gunner has credit for one ďprobableĒ 

I never have gotten your seeds as yet and since Iím moving itíll probably delay them 2 or 3 weeks longer. Is Bob working out of Louisville now? That he was at DeCoursey yds. Who did you sell your car to? You sure got a good price for it. Weíre still having rain. Sure could use some snow and ice. I might go on rest leave in a few wks. To Sidney Aus. That will be O.K. Well I better quit for now. Not much to write. Just that Iíd drop you a few lines while I had time Write anytime. Always glad to hear from any of you. 

As ever. 

Ben


Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Robert Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker,
0-718815, 394th B. Sqd N.(H) 5th B. Gp.,A.P.O. 719, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

Philippines, Mar. 10, Ď45

Dear Bobby & Bob: Now that Iíve gotten moved and settled down a bit will try and drop you a few lines. This island isnít much different from any other tropical island The people, Iíd say, are civilized and most of them speak English along with their own language which is a modification of Spanish. They go around with everything on their heads baskets, jars, and bundles of laundry. Thatís the best part. The women come every day and get our laundry. That sure is a relief to me. 

Here might be an interesting bit of news. I made First Lieutenant yesterday. Now itís a shiny silver bar. About $30 more per mo. Might be a captain before the war is over. I think Iím pretty close to Woodrow and maybe Dumpy. But I havenít had a chance to look either up. But hope to before long. I think I might be going on rest leave pretty soon but donít know just when. I have twenty missions now and they generally go around 20 or 22 missions. I had a couple of letters from ďDĒ yesterday He thinks heíll be moving again soon. I never hear from Louis. How did Bob come out with the draft? Well must quit fro now and write the folks. 

Sincerely 

Ben

P.S. I heard about Aunt Kate. She surely did go quick.


Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Bob Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815, 
394th B. Sqd N.(H) 5th B. Gp.,A.P.O. 719, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

Dated: Philippines, Mar. 25, í45, Palm Sunday

Dear Bobby: 

Not doing much today; just sitting around taking things easy. Didnít fly today so went to church this morning This being Palm Sunday the Chaplain did very well I thought. Next Sunday is Easter. Iíve never seen time pass so fast. But in my case thatís good. I havenít been doing much writing the last couple of weeks. Iíve been flying almost every day. I have 28 missions so far; So Iím not doing so badly. 

In the last week Iíve received 3 Log Cabins & one Democrat. Also got one package from home. But no other pkgs. Haven't come thru yet. But I look for them to start coming thru in a few days. 

I saw a good stage show the other nite. Irving Berlinís ďThis Is The Army.Ē I was really good. I sat thru it in the rain and as a result, have a cold. It was an all soldier cast. And Irving Berlin was here in Person and sang several of his songs and some heíd written since he came over here. I sure enjoyed every minute of it. I donít think Iíll be getting a rest leave to Sidney Aus. Since weíre getting so far away from Aus. But as a result I might get home quicker. So either way is O.K. by me. Thereís a village or town here on the island and in it is an old Rock church or monastery that is 350 yrs. Old. Itís really a thing of interest and although the Japs used it they left it intact. These natives are devout Catholics. 

Did I tell you that I was one of the first planes over Manilla & corregidor. Heard about Col. Rees but didnít know it was him. I also was in raids on Nichols Fld, Clark Fld, Nelson Fld. Grace-Park Airborne & Canute Island. Things were pretty hot around there for a while. Guess Bob got past the draft O.K. They sure cleaned out Har. Co. the last two mos. I hear from D & Ruth & the folks quite often. Well will quit for now. Write anytime. 

Sincerely 

Ben


(Benís last letter to me)
Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Bob Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky
From: Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815,
394th B. Sqd N.(H) 5th B. Gp.,A.P.O. 719, C/o PM. S.F. Calif.

Philippines, Apr. 14, í45

Dear Bobby: 

Will try and drop you a few lines. Iím just sitting around tonite. The show to nite was ďAirforceĒ I didnít go as that picture like ďwinged VictoryĒ was comical to me now. Just cam back from the Navy yard where I was promoting some ice cream. We get a beet & liquor ration once-in-a-while. I always swap mine for food. Tonight I made some hot chocolate. I started with a can of hot water then then added sugar, cocoa, powdered & powdered milk until I got a taste that I remembered as hot chocolate. It wasnít half bad even tho the dog here wouldnít lap up what was left over. I heard about the President yesterday. Sure was bad in times like these. It affected the men, here as a major military defeat would. I almost wish now that Gov. Dewey had been elected Believe heís a better diplomat than Pres. Truman. Iím still flying quite often. I have 35 strikes now. Did I tell you I got the Air Medal for ďMeritorious achievement et cetera et ceter. Had a letter from ďDĒ. Said he was moving again. Hope he gets closer to home. Well Iíll quit. Hope everyone is O.K. 

Sincerely

Ben

________________________________________________________________________

The following letter was returned unread, as Lt. Whitaker had been lost by the time it arrived

Addressed to : Lt B.R. Whiteker, 0-718815,
394th B. Sqd N.(H) 5th B. Gp.,A.P.O. 719, C/o PM. S.F. Calif. (marked: Deceased)
From: Mrs. Robert Bramel, 143 Daniels St, Latonia Kentucky

Apr. 24, í45

Dear Ben, 

Spring has come in Ky. In fact it has been here for a good while. Ruth came Friday night & we went out home with Chas Bramel Sat. morn. I hadnít been out home since Aunt Kateís sale & I could hardly believe the change that nature had made in the ďHollow.Ē The home folks seemed to be holding their own. Daddy keeps slowly fading, but never consults a doctor. Bob took his first Rail Road exam yesterday & passed it. He is now a Hostler. No more money but a necessary step to Engineering. 

Guess Mammy has already written that Ed. Bower died. Veach Reddís will seem strange without him. Ė Ruth is coming back this wk. end & we are going to clean some wall paper. Ė Two wk. ago W.C. & wife, Raymond & wife, Bob & I went to Dayton on Sunday. Same old place. We plan to go to Indian lake soon, fishing Ė 

This wk. I got a 2 yr. contract with the Kenton Co. B d. of Ed. When Iíve finished 3 years here I will get a ďcontinuingĒ(life) contract as long as I keep up my certificate. Last wk. we had a teacherís meeting & dinner at Simon Kenton. Ė This Friday night we have a Bazaar at Forest Hills. Since D was home Ruth Hedge calls quite frequently. She works in Cincinnati. Yesterday she told me that Anna Mae Lilly had twins & called the boy Ronnie Rees. The pop. Of the U.S. must be holding its own. Ė 

Howís the fight? Write us anything you can about it because weíre interested. What goes on there besides war? Do they grown sugar cane & things one reads about in Geography books?- 

Bob is listening to Fibber Magee & Molly. Theyíre pretty good, especially Beulah. We just heard that Happy Chandler has been named High Commissioner of Baseball at a salary of $50,000. He wonít be Senator any more. Have no idea who his successor will be. Hope you are O.K. 

With love, 

Bobbie


The following letters were received by the Whitaker family after Lt. Whitaker's death was reported

Addressed to Miss Ruth Whiteker, 1487 Huffman Ave., Dayton 3, Ohio
From: Miss Frances Armaline, 568 Sixth St., Campbell, Ohio

Dated: June 5

Dear Ruth 

I am sending the list of names and addresses. I havenít heard anything more since Iíve talked to you but as soon as I do Iíll write.S/Sgt. Edwin C. Austin Ė 34731118 Mrs. Mary L. Austin Ė mother Elkton Ė Penn.S/Sgt. Leo R. Bender. 32944700 Mrs. Clara Bender Ė mother 1522 Kemble St., Utica, N.Y.S/Sgt. Howard S. Browman Ė 36725268 Mrs. Rose Browman Ė mother 1222 Pratt Blvd. Chicago, Ill.2nd Lt. Robert A. Nelson Ė 0857149 Mrs. Cara J. Nelson Ė wife- 421 Leonard Ave. DeKalb, Ill.S/Sgt. Rocco Piligno - 32955-189 Mrs. Mary Piligno Ė mother 1610 Pershing St. Camden, N.J.S/Sgt. Edmund R. Serrano Ė 37413029 Mrs. Luella Serrano Ė mother 6128 Pershing Ave. St. Louis, Mo.Flight Officer Ė August A. Stasio T-129883 Miss Anne Stasio Ė sister 949 East 214th St. Bronx, N.Y. 

That is all except one. He is the bombadier. Mrs. Bender had his address and wrote to his family and they have received the same telegram as we have. 

There isnít anything I can say to ease the hurt. Words just canít express it. I canít and wonít believe it until I have to If there is anything I can do, donít hesitate in asking, I have a lot of time, Iím not working at the present and I wonít be going back for a few more months. 

Yours truly,

Frances.


Note: The other members of Lt. Whitakers crew were S/Sgt. Richard L. Strickland, 38538441, Gunner; S/Sgt. Dominic Armaline, 15324454, Gunner; and F/O James E. Shallenberger, T-5476, Bombardier.†


Addressed to Mrs. Robert Bramel, 119 Martin St., Covington, Kentucky
From: Mary A. Vanhook, Mt. Oliver, Ky.

Dated: May 23, 1946 Wednesday afternoon

Dear Bobbie, 

Mother was so glad to hear from you and so proud you thought of her on Motherís Day. Thanks so much for remembering my mother. I appreciate it a lot. I was sorry I didnít get to talk with you at Benís memorial services. If you knew the ordeal I went through to get there youíd sure appreciate my coming. I guess I would have chartered a bus. My ankles were so swollen I could hardly walk Ė paint and kidneys both but I got to sit down. Even though I could hardly walk I would have come around to speak to all of you but it was all so sad, I knew you were too, so I just thought Iíd make you sadder. Wanted you to know I was there so Dad said heíd speak to all of you. I spoke to Dee and Mack through the crowd. The services were so nice, and if you ever can Iíd like for you to let mother read Bro. Judyís message Ė it was wonderful. Just reading it will help mother to understand a little of what I tried to tell her about it, but the way and tone of voice in which he spoke was so gratifying and appropriate. He is a dear, kind sympathetic man. I sure hope his wife and daughter appreciate him as so many of his church fold and friends do. 

I can understand your being so busy now that school is just about finished. One thing you arenít bothered with the warm weather. It is nice you are planning to go to Georgetown for a term. If I didnít know youíd be so busy between the 31st and June 10, Iíd come down for a couple days but know you donít need company while youíre doing all that preparatory work so if I strike a few ďnot too hotĒ days after you come back Iíll be down before school starts in the fall. 

Do you like your new place? Kenneth and Isabella told me you were fixing to move, but I thought maybe they got mixed up. Imagine you have more company on Martin now as most of the folk you know live in Covington. Isabella spoke of Polly. Did you like Isabella? I like her a lot Ė what Iíve seen of her. Seems hard to feature Kenneth being married. Maybe youíll be out for decoration and I can say a few words to you then. Our alumni banquet is May 30th and I always look forward to it. Wore my formal last year but wonít this time as it is in bad condition. They are useless property to gals like me. 

What all did Ruth get at her shower? I was buying graduation, baby and wedding presents today but left hers off until I knew further. Would like to get something she can use as well as keep and something she doesnít have a lot of, so if you have time to think sometime Iíd appreciate a hint. Weíve had the entire interior of your house re-painted and donít think weíve been busy and in a mess. Want to have the floors re-sanded and varnished after weíve rested awhile. I got a new mattress and floor lamp for my room and have ordered curtains. Hope they come. Am still looking for hose. If you could see what Iím wearing youíd croak. 

Mother says Iím just not going to the banquet with these, but I canít go without and Iíve tried both Maysville and Cynthiana- always five minutes too late. If you ever see a pair of 8 Ĺ or 9ís nab them for me and Iíll give you a great big hug with interest. 

Come to see us, please. We are having fried chicken now and would like to share it with you. Mother and Dad send their best regards to you and Bob and say for you two to come visit us. Write if you ever get time and until I hear or see you

Love,

Mary Allan


 

44-41541

13th Air Force 5th Bomb Group 394th Bomb Squadron (H)

CREW MEMBERS OF B-24L AIRPLANE #44-41541

SMITH, Benjamin B. 1st Lt.

O-777 165

HANN, Nathan 2nd Lt.

O-785 663

GIANORECO, John M. 2nd Lt. O-2 007 598
CALLOWAY, Carl H. T/Sgt. 14 123 889
GRIGGS, Harley C. S/Sgt. 39 918 965
DIAZ, Manuel A. T/Sgt. 39 261 254
ADMAS, Donovan C. S/Sgt. 36 778 227
BERRY, Zane R. S/Sgt. 39 917 037
DUNN, William S/Sgt. 33 614 833

On the 30 April 1945, the 394th Bomb Squadron  took off from Guiuan Air Strip, Samar Island, Philippine Islands, for a combat bombing mission on Davao, Mindanao Island, Philippine Islands.  The flight to, and over the target, was successful.  After they had completed dropping there bombs, they proceeded toward Morotai Island, in the Molucca Islands, where they planned to land.

They were approximately thirty miles from Morotai Island, near Race Island, flying in their usual formation, when two of the airplanes in the formation collided.  B-24M Serial No. 44-41869 and B-24L Serial No. 44-41541.  The collision damaged both planes severely, causing them to crash into the ocean immediately.  There were no survivors on either aircraft, and only one of the bodies was recovered, that of F/O Arthur B. Sobol, T-128 478, after a through search had been made by surface craft and low flying search aircraft.

RETURN TO ROCCO PILIGNO MEMORIAL PAGE

RETURN TO CAMDEN COUNTY WAR DEAD INDEX

RETURN TO CAMDEN NJ City Internet WWII  WAR MEMORIAL

RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOME PAGE