|Birth: ||Jun. 23, 1919|
|Death: ||Jul. 5, 1943|
Santa Barbara County
Flight Officer, USAAF WWII
He was born in Elmwood, Minnesota. He was the son of Charles Wesley Stevens, Sr and Verda Olive (Crane) Stevens. His brother was Charles Wesley Stevens, Jr. His hometown was Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was married and his wife was living at Salinas, California at the time of his death.
He was the Pilot on B-24E #42-7160 that was following B-24E #42-7011 'The Eddie Rickenbacker', Major Thorel 'Skip' Johnson's Crew, on a search and rescue mission for two that had bailed out over the Pacific Ocean. Their ship had been using fuel at an excessive rate prior to losing two engines over the Pacific off the coast of Santa Barbara. Pilot Johnson ordered the crew into their parachutes and turned the plane around, heading back towards Santa Barbara. Two airmen, Dannhardt and Prosser, not knowing they were still over the Pacific, bailed out prior to the Pilot giving the order and thus were lost at sea. The remaining eight crewmen bailed out safely once the plane had reached land over the mountains. The unmanned plane crashed 10 miles north of Santa Barbara on 04 July 1943. The Command Pilot of B-24E #42-7160, Lieutenant Douglas J Thornburg, was one of four survivors who bailed out of B-24E #42-7119 that crashed three weeks earlier. B-24E #42-7160 descended in heavy developing fog to take a closer look, and crashed head-on into Green Mountain on San Miguel Island, one of the three Channel Islands. A search was then initiated for this plane once it was known that they had lost contact. Eventually the search was called off and it was thought that the plane must have ditched in the Pacific. The following March, a Shepherder named Robert Brooks, one of only two people living on San Miguel Island at the time, found the plane and the remains of the twelve airmen on 800-foot Green Mountain. The plane and crew had crashed at approximately the 500-foot elevation. In 1954, additional crew remains were reported, and the Coast Guard Cutter 'Morris' was dispatched, however, it collided with the yacht 'Aloha', resulting in two civilian casualties. After this, the military began using the crash site for target practice.
This aircraft wreck was more recently visited and documented by aviation archaeologist and wreckfinder G Pat Macha of www.aircraftwrecks.com. The crew members lost were~
Lt Douglas J Thornburg, ASN O-439091, Command Pilot, from Casa Grande, AZ
FO Vernon Clarke Stevens, ASN T-000376, Pilot, from Cedar Rapids, IA
2nd Lt Floyd P Hart, ASN O-801277, CoPilot, from Bakersfield, CA
2nd Lt Bose Gorman, Jr, ASN O-801453, Navigator, from Winnsboro, TX
2nd Lt Justin M Marshall, ASN O-729643, Instructor Navigator, from Joplin, MO
2nd Lt Noah H Yost, ASN O-736746, Bombardier, from Sacramento, CA
SSgt Bernard Littman, ASN 33283227, Flight Engineer, from Pittsburgh, PA
SSgt Ralph S Masterson, Jr, ASN 18043151, Flight Engineer, from Voth, TX
SSgt Lyle L Frost, ASN 16093784, Radio Operator, from Beulah, WI
SSgt Walter P Eisenbarth, ASN 37312876, Gunner, from Hazelton, ND
SSgt Lee E Salzer, ASN 13108684, Gunner, from Pittsburg, PA
SSgt Henry L Bair, ASN 33292071, Radio Operator, from LaTrobe PA
Major Thorel 'Skip' Johnson and crew named their next plane, B-24D #42-40837 ‘Bob ‘N Pete' after Robert Prosser and Peter Dannhardt, the two crew members that were lost at sea. The crew had been re-assigned to the 14th Air Force, and this plane belonged to their group just prior to deployment to Yangkai, China.
MANY SINCERE THANKS to findagrave contributor Tim Cook for finding the burial location of Lt Vernon Clarke Stevens and his parents.
Charles Wesley Stevens (1897 - 1978)
Verda Olive Crane Stevens (1898 - 1985)
Vernon Clark Stevens (1919 - 1943)
Charles Wesley Stevens (1927 - 2013)*
Cedar Memorial Park
Plot: Acacia, Lot 382, Spc #2
Created by: B24CoPilotNiece
Record added: Jan 11, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 64076537