Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Navy Reserve Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Ora H. Sharninghouse, killed during World War II, has now been accounted for.
On Sept. 8, 1944, Sharninghouse was a member of the Navy Torpedo Squadron Eighteen (VT-18), USS Intrepid, on a bombing mission against Japanese positions on Babelthuap Island, Palau. As the aircraft reached the target area, the pilot began a dive near Bokerugeru Point and the crew released its 2,000-pound bomb. While attempting to pull out of the dive, the bomb hit an ammunition dump and exploded. The explosion tore the tail from the aircraft, causing it to crash off-shore. Sharninghouse was reported missing in action.
Interment services are pending; a formal notification will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services.
Sharninghouse's name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Information Courtesy of Frogman (#47380828)
FINDLAY — Joan Stough was 11 years old when her family received a telegram from the Navy informing them that her brother was missing in action.
Later, they would learn that the torpedo bomber on which he served as gunner had gone down Sept. 8, 1944, in the north Pacific.
“My mother took it very hard. My dad was never one to say too much, but it was really hard on my mother,” Mrs. Stough, now 84, recalled. “But, she never gave up hope that he would come back.”
On Wednesday, Ora Sharninghouse, Jr., came home.
His remains — and those of radioman Bud Rybarczyk — were recovered from their TBM Avenger in 2014 near the Republic of Palau and identified through DNA and other evidence. Following a military and police escort Wednesday afternoon from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to the Coldren-Crates Funeral Home in Findlay, Mr. Sharninghouse will be laid to rest on Saturday.
Mrs. Stough said her family never had a funeral for her lost brother because her mother would not give up hope he might have been taken prisoner, might have amnesia, and might return.
“I never dreamed anything like this would ever happen,” Mrs. Stough said. “It's just amazing to me.”
She is the only one of her seven siblings who lived to see the brother they called “Junior” come home. Three of her other brothers served in World War II but have since passed away. Fifteen of Mr. Sharninghouse's 16 nieces and nephews are coming in from all over the country to pay tribute to the McComb High School graduate this weekend.
The story of his recovery begins with Dr. Patrick Scannon, founder of the BentProp Project, and Mark Moline, director of the School of Marine Science and Policy at the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.
In 1993, Dr. Scannon began working on military recovery efforts in Palau, a cluster of islands south of Guam and east of the Philippines. In 2005, he was led by a native to a mangrove jungle where he and his team were shown part of the wing of an Avenger.
Years of unsuccessful grid searches for the downed plane came to an end in 2014 when his team joined forces with the University of Delaware researchers. Using their state-of-the-art underwater robots and working under the umbrella of Project Recover, the team located the lost Avenger, missing one wing. It was resting at a depth of just 100 feet.
“The visibility was very, very poor. We could barely see more than one body length in the water, which is one reason it made it so hard to find,” Dr. Scannon recalled. “We had an instrument that helped us locate the crash site. ... This pile of aluminum wreckage and the big propeller was the initial image we saw, and we knew we had found the plane.”
Divers recovered the two sailors' remains and immediately turned them over to the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which accounts for Americans who went missing while serving their country.
Dr. Scannon said it was a momentous discovery and an emotional experience for all involved.
“It's true we like the adventure, getting out there, doing interesting things, using novel technologies, but I think the driving force for all of us is the families,” he said. “I've had the privilege of speaking to a large number of MIA families, and they never forget. I've never met an MIA family that has put aside the MIA loss.”
Information Courtesy of Jon Kwiatkowski (49177896)
He has a cenotaph here.
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