Clinton County

Lt. LaVerne Perry Busch



LaVerne Perry Busch was born July 13, 1921 to Arthur M. and Lulu Maria Logan Busch. He died Apr. 3, 1945 and is buried in Lost Nation Cemetery, Lost Nation, IA.

Lt. Busch served with the U.S. Army Air Corps 475th Fighter Group, 433rd Unit in World War II. He DOI received when bailing out of his P-38 fighter plane near Luzon, Philippine Islands on Apr. 3, 1945.

Letter to Mrs. Busch--after his death:

My dear Mrs. Busch,

This is indeed a difficult letter to write, but I though that you might like to hear from the physician who attended your husband, Lieutenant LaVerne P. Busch, in his last hours.  I know that it will be small comfort, but I should like to tell you something of the manner in which he met his end, he was quite conscious most of the time and gave a detailed account of his accident.

He was flying alone in a fighter plane on the evening of April 2.  He had just completed his mission and was heading back for his based when he lost his way.  When he had only ten minutes more gas left, he sighted our group of ships somewhere on the coast of Luzon, recognizing us as American and there being no landing facilities in the vicinity, he decided to “bail out” and landed in the calm waters of the bay, about fifty feet off shore, his plane crashing into a hill a few hundred yards away.  In leaving the plane his left leg was hit by the tail assembly inflicting multiple and severe compound fractures of the leg, cutting the main artery and nerve.  None the less, he swam the fifty feet to the beach by himself.

A pharmacists mate from a ship nearer than ourselves arrived within minutes after he left the plane and rendered prompt and excellent first aid.  I arrived on the scene about ten minutes later.  We gave plasma and morphine on the spot and evacuated him to this ship.

When he arrived on board, he was in severe shock from the accident and blood loss.  We did everything in our power to combat the shock and save his life.  We had ample plasma and fluids, and three blood transfusions along with enough morphine to keep him out of pain.  I would like you to know that every officer and man on the ship was unstinting in helping to save him with every means  in their power.  Those who we could not accept as blood donors, or who were not needed to assist my pharmacists mates or myself at least offered their prayers and stayed up almost all night until it was over.

After a number of hours we thought we were winning our fight, he responding well and seemed out of shock, and we prepared to operate on his leg, but as we were getting ready to begin he suddenly stopped breathing. We were able to revive him, but a few minutes later he relapsed into severe shock and despite all measures taken, he passed quietly away at 2:15 on the morning of April 3.

He was conscious almost to the end, but once the morphine had taken its effect he was in no pain, nor did he realize the seriousness of his condition.  I am sure that he did not know he was going to die.  Mrs. Busch, I have seen much suffering in my life, and have seen many people pass on, but I have never seen one as brave and courageous as Ernie was.  To the last he was smiling and cheerful, never losing an opportunity to banter and joke with those of us who were around him right up to the end.

One remark he made I think you would like to know about. He was telling me how you expected a baby on March 12, and that he had had no word from you in over a month, and he then said, “gosh, Doc, I’d sure like to know if I’m a father or a mother.  But whatever it is, it’s sure to be a mighty fine kid because its got the best young mother in the world.”

We buried him yesterday, with his wedding ring on, in a beautiful grove on the shores of this very beautiful bay, with a cross and a blade of his propeller to mark the spot.  The services, though simple, were indeed impressive. They were conducted by Charles Boettner, Ph M 2/c USNR, who in civil life had been a Methodist theological student, and were attended by the officers and crews of the ships present.  We had photographs taken of the ceremonies and the grave, and if you will let me know your mailing address I will see that you get copies of the pictures, along with the exact location of the accident and grave as soon as security and regulations permit.

His few personal effects, along with official reports of the accident are being forwarded along with this letter to his commanding officer, and they will then probably be forwarded to you.

I cannot tell you how sorry I am to have to write a letter like this, but I sincerely hope that it may be some small way help to make the shock of Ernie’s passing more bearable.

If ever, at any time, I may be of any service to you, just let me know.  There is only one more thing to add, and that is that he was able to get every care and attention known to Medical science, and that we lost him not for lack of trying; but merely the will of the Lord, which, only too often, those us mortals who call ourselves doctors are unable to contend with. 

Very Sincerely,
James M. Schless
Lt. (J.G.), (M.C.), USNR
Senior Medical Officer
USS Pathfinder

**And the rest of this sad story…FindAGrave shows that their baby (a son named Alan) was born AND died Mar. 11, 1945.