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CPL CHARLES FRANCIS REYNOLDS

  CPL Charles Francis REYNOLDS enlisted on August 20, 1943 at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa, and served during World War II with the U.S. Army Air Force, 372nd Bomber Squadron, 307th Heavy Bomber Group. CPL REYNOLDS was missing in action on Saturday, July 15, 1944, and was memorialized on the tablets of the missing in action at Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines. CPL REYNOLDS was awarded the Purple Heart and the Air Medal.

In July of 1944, CPL REYNOLDS' squadron was stationed on Mokerang Field, Los Negors, enbabling the U.S. Army Air Force to attack Yap Island, a mission the was a 13-hour round trip to a heavily defended target without friendly fighter cover. The planes took off from Mokerang Field on July 15, 1944, for another mission to bomb Yap Island. CPL REYNOLDS had the position of aerial gunner on the mission. On the way back, CPL REYNOLDS' B-24K Liberator "the Diedrich Flight (Serial #42-73119) collided with another Liberator, approximately 25 miles south of Yap Island in the Carolines - the other Liberator was "the Sylor Flight."

SSgt. Jack RYDER, the tail-gunner on Capt. Eugene LINK's crew, stated later, "Our 50th mission [on July 15, 1944] was a dangerous daylight raid over Yap Island with no fighter escort. The weather was stormy, and the formation had to breakup temporairly. The Japanese were flying their newest aircraft, the "Tojo." Because of normal prop wash, the B-24's do not fly close or wing-tip-to-wing-tip. From the ground it would look like this but actually the formation was set up in step-like fashion, each plane flying a little above the other.

"I spotted a Japanese plane turning toward us and I hollered, 'Pilot from Tail-Up!' The pilot pulled up and the airplane rose sharply in an evasive maneuver to avoid striking two Liberators flying on a collision course below us. I could see one B-24 steering to the right and another one was on my right, which had been shot full of holes along the fuselage. The pilot was apparently dead or unconscious and the plane veered and tipped over and slammed into the one on the left.

"We were about 20 to 25,000 feet and if he had not pulled up quickly we would have gone down tangled with the two planes as they circled down, leveled off and hit the water about 20 feet apart. Two smoke piles. . . .

We had forty planes in our attack on Yap Island. . . .Our plane was the lead plane. The bombs were released, and we returned to base."

George KRUM, the ball turret gunner of Lt. GAGE's crew said that he saw seven to ten parachutes open. Then the Japanese pilots went down and strafed [attack of machine-gun fire from a low-flying aircraft] the parachutes and any suvivors they could find in the water. Because of enemy control of the crash area, there wasn't an immediate search for survivors. It simply wasn't possible. When it was safe, subsequent searches to locate any survivors or bodies failed. The Adjustant General issued a presumptive finding of death on March 30, 1946, for the crew of both planes.

DIEDRICH FLIGHT CREW, M.I.A. July 15, 1944
Front Row, Left to Right: Pilot - 1st Lt. Anthony DIEDRICH, Co-Pilot - 2nd Lt. Robert W. POMEROY, E - 2nd Lt. Andrew SEKANICS,
Back Row, Left to Right: AEG - SSgt. Kenneth W. SEILER, ROG - SSgt. Robert JACOBS, AAG - Sgt. William E. CROWLEY AG/Nose - CPL Charles F. REYNOLDS, AG/Tail - CPL John O. DUNBAR, Jr., AG/Ball - CPL Clint HUNTLEY.
Not pictured: CG - Sgt. William E. MOORES

SOURCES:
wwiimemorial.com/registry/mia/search/pfram.asp?HonoreeID=774743&popcount=4&tcount=4

To contribute to Ringgold County's soldier pages,
contact Sharon R. Becker at srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.


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