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United States Army Aircrew
7 July 1944
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1206-07
October 11, 2007

Nine Missing WWII Airmen are Identified

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of nine U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are First Lieutenant David P. McMurray, of Melrose, Massachusetts; First Lieutenant Raymond Pascual, of Houston, Texas; Second Lieutenant Millard C. Wells Jr., of Paris, Kentucky; Technical Sergeant Leonard J. Ray, of Upper Falls, Maryland; Technical Sergeant Hyman L. Stiglitz, of Boston, Massachusetts; Staff Sergeant Robert L. Cotey, of Vergennes, Vermont; Staff Sergeant Francis E. Larrivee, of Laconia, New Hampshire; Staff Sergeant Robert J. Flood, of Neelyton, Pennsylvania; and Staff Sergeant Walter O. Schlosser, of Lake City, Michigan; all U.S. Army Air Forces. Ray and Flood were buried last week in Harford County, Maryland, and Dry Run, Pennsylvania, respectively. The burials of the other servicemen will be at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. on a date to be determined.

Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men in their hometowns to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.

On July 7, 1944, the men were aboard a B-24J Liberator that departed North Pickenham, England, on a mission to bomb a German aircraft factory near Bernburg, Germany. The plane was last seen by U.S. aircrew members in that vicinity. Captured records revealed that it had crashed near Westeregeln, about 20 miles northwest of the target in what would become the Soviet sector of a post-war-divided Germany.

In 2001, a group of German citizens interested in recovering wartime relics and remains learned of a potential crash site south of Westeregeln. Later that year and in 2002, the group found the site and uncovered human remains from what appeared to be two burial locations. The remains and other personal effects, including identification tags, were turned over to U.S. officials.

In 2003, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team excavated the crash site and recovered additional remains, identification tags and non-biological material evidence.

Among dental records, other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Departmentís mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/ or call (703) 699-1169.


May 25, 2008:

KEENE, New Hampshire ó Nearly four years after their remains were found, Sergeant Francis E. Larrivee of Laconia and his crew mates from World War II will be put to rest.

Larrivee, whose remains were identified last fall, was a member of the 492nd Bomb Group Second Air Division, specifically the "McMurray crew," named after its pilot, David P. McMurray. They were aboard a B-24J Liberator on a mission to bomb a German aircraft factory near Bernburg, Germany.

The plane, which departed North Pickenham, England, was last seen by U.S. aircrew members in that area. Captured records showed that it crashed near Westeregeln, about 20 miles northwest of the target, on July 7, 1944, the Defense Department said.

Larrivee's daughter, Judith O'Connor, formerly of Keene, was just a 3-month-old baby when her father died at the age of 21. Although she never knew him, she is proud of his service and thrilled he will be honored at Arlington National Memorial Cemetery in Washington on June 12, 2008.

"Not a day goes by since I was born that he hasn't been on my mind," she said. "I've waited 64 years, and I'm finally bringing my dad home."

She and her husband and sons will meet members of the families of the other crew members in Washington, the day before six of the nine are buried in Arlington. Three families chose to have private burials, O'Connor said.

The tale of Larrivee's homecoming took many interesting twists, and even involved the detective work of a Keene police department secretary.

In 2000, O'Connor contacted a veterans group in Denver, which called upon the services of Enrico Schwartz and the Missing Allied Air Crew Research Team.

When the team, which Schwartz runs with his own money, found the crash site, he contacted the Keene Police Department for O'Connor's phone number, which was unlisted.

Sheryl A. Beckta, a secretary in the detectives' division, tracked O'Connor down from Keene to Florida, and told her of the discovery.

"It's been a waiting game," O'Connor said, as she has dealt with the Veterans' Administration, the Department of Army and the Pentagon while waiting to bury her father.

A group of German citizens learned of a potential crash site south of Westeregeln in 2001. Later that year and in early 2002 they uncovered human remains from what appeared to be two burial locations, the Pentagon said. The remains, including identification tags, were turned over to U.S. officials.

In 2003, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command excavated the crash site and found additional remains, identification tags and non-biological material evidence.

Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used dental records, mitochondrial DNA and other tools to identify the remains.

Larrivee enlisted a private in the Army Air Corps on Jan. 19, 1942. He was single and had three years of high school behind him, according to military enlistment records. At some point he was married. His wife, Elizabeth Ann, and baby Judith lived in Franklin in July 1944, according to old news reports.

Larrivee was shot down at least twice and survived, but was listed in missing in action over Germany on July 7, the time the plane was shot down.

O'Connor is also looking forward to the full military funerals the crew members will receive, and the fact that she can place family photos and a personal letter in her father's casket.

O'Connor grew up reading the few letters her father sent home to his wife and parents, where he sent his love to them and his "baby girl," she said.

Choking back tears, O'Connor said she hasn't yet written the letter, but knows what she will say to the father she never knew.

"I want to say that his baby girl loves him," O'Connor said. "... That I would hope he's proud of me; that he has wonderful grandchildren that are carrying on his name; that I love him and I'm so proud he served his country."

Stiglitz's relatives said the news restored him to the family in a way that was more than physical. Stiglitz was 25 when the plane crashed.

"My lost uncle, which was a name only, became a person," said Stiglitz's nephew Bill Stuart, 47, of San Diego, Calif. "It was the first time I ever had an uncle."

Paul Arnett, a Mesa, Ariz., historian for www.492ndbombgroup.com and the son of a pilot for the same bomber group, said the 492nd was known as the "hard-luck group" and the nine men were known as the "hard-luck crew" because they typically returned battered from their missions.

Arnett said when he recounts the crew's history, he likens their durability to a Timex watch.

"If there was anyone who could take anything," Arnett said, "it was these guys."


McMurray Crew PHOTO - World War II
Back row, left to right: Leonard Ray, engineer, David McMurray, pilot 
Millard Wells Jr, co-pilot, Raymond Pascual, bombardier, 
Front row, left to right: (unidentified), Walter O Schlosser, gunner,
Francis E Larrivee, gunner, (unidentified), (unidentified)
(Photo Courtesy of the 492nd Bomb Group Website)
 David P. McMurray
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-796852
856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Massachusetts
Died: 7-Jul-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. Remains recovered.

Massachusetts State Flag     Air Medal - 2 awards     Purple Heart Medal - 2 awards


Raymond Pascual
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-668755
856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: New York
Died: 7-Jul-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart. Remains recovered.

New York State Flag     Air Medal - 2 awards     Purple Heart Medal


Millard C. Wells, Jr.
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-808625
856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Kentucky
Died: 7-Jul-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart. Remains recovered

Kentucky State Flag     Air Medal - 2 awards    Purple Heart Medal


Leonard J. Ray
Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 20349559
856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Maryland
Died: 7-Jul-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart. Remains recovered.

Maryland State Flag     Air Medal - 2 awards     Purple Heart Medal


Hyman L. Stiglitz
Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 11045879
856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Massachusetts
Died: 7-Jul-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart. Remains recovered.

Massachusetts State Flag     Air Medal - 2 awards     Purple Heart Medal


Robert L. Cotey
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 17121422
856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Missouri
Died: 7-Jul-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. Remains recovered.

Missouri State Flag     Air Medal - 2 awards     Purple Heart Medal 2 awards


Francis E. Larrivee
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 11038832
856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: New Hampshire
Died: 7-Jul-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart. Remains recovered

New Hampshire State Flag     Air Medal - 2 awards     Purple Heart Medal


Robert J. Flood
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 33567786
856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Pennsylvania
Died: 7-Jul-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart. Remains recovered.

Pennsylvania State Flag     Air Medal - 2 awards     Purple Heart Medal


Walter O. Schlosser
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 16083944
856th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Michigan
Died: 7-Jul-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart. Remains recovered.

Michigan State Flag     Air Medal - 2 awards     Purple Heart Medal
 

NOTE: This crew was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on 12 June 2008.

  Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 12 June 2008 Updated: 22 June 2008 Updated: 14 August 2009

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DP McMurray Gravesite PHOTO August 2008

Raymond Pascual Gravesite PHOTO August 2008

MC Wells Jr. Gravesite PHOTO August 2008

 LA Larrivee Gravesite PHOTO August 2008

WO Schlosser Gravesite PHOTO August 2008
Above Photos Courtesy of Holly, August 2008

McMurray Crew Group Gravesite PHOTO June 2008

DP McMurray Gravesite PHOTO June 2008

FE Larrivee Gravesite PHOTO June 2008

Raymond Pascual Gravesite PHOTO June 2008

WO Schlosser Gravesite PHOTO June 2008

MC Wells Jr. Gravesite PHOTO June 2008
 Photos Courtesy of Holly, June 2008