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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 95728
Last updated: 16 September 2019
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Date:18-NOV-1942
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE18 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft AT-7 Navigator
Owner/operator:United States Army Air Force (USAAF)
Registration: 41-21079
C/n / msn: 1094
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants:
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Darwin Glacier, CA (Sierra Nevada Mountains) -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Training
Departure airport:Mather Field, California
Destination airport:
Narrative:
The Beech AT-7 41-21079 of 341st School Squadron, departed Mather Field, California, on 18 November 1942, on a routine navigational training flight. The pilot was 2nd Lt. William R. Gamber of Fulton County, Ohio. His three students on this flight were Aviation Cadets John W. Mortenson of Latah County, Idaho, Ernest G. Munn of Belmont County, Ohio and Leo M. Mustomen of Crow Wing County, Minnesota.

When the aircraft and crew failed to return to their base a search was begun that went on for weeks with negative results. The war went on and then ended. The crew became just one of many listed as missing. But in 1947, that would change.

Hikers on Darwin Glacier, California stumbled across aircraft wreckage on 24 November 1947. A search party was dispatched to the site. They were able to confirm that it was indeed the missing aircraft.

On 15 October 1948, a casket was placed in the Grave 43, Section F, Golden Gate National Cemetery. Supposedly it contained the bodies of the four flyers lost with 41-21079. However, it was clearly stated in the after action report of the search party that no bodies had been found. Only one small piece of frozen flesh that became the group burial.

By 2005, the glacier had melted sufficiently to reveal the body of Mustomen. In 2006, the body of Munn was recovered. It was at this time that the Department of Defense announced that the other two bodies were in the casket and the case was closed. But the remaining two bodies are probably still on the glacier. Only time will tell.

Sources:

[LINK NOT WORKING ANYMORE:http://www.wfirg.org/index.php?p=1_13_Empty-Coffin]
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/AARmonthly/Nov1942S.htm
http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/1941_3.html
http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA---Air/Beech-AT-7-Navigator/1039972/M
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_Glacier_(California)
http://wikimapia.org/#lang=fr&lat=37.171667&lon=-118.671944&z=13


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
30-Aug-2014 14:23 A.J.Scholten Updated [Cn, Total fatalities, Location, Narrative]
18-Nov-2015 16:34 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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