TSGT Ned Potter

TSGT Ned Potter

Magnolia, Duplin County, North Carolina, USA
Death 29 Feb 1944 (aged 27)
Morobe, Papua New Guinea
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 34 Site 2466
Memorial ID 12604015 · View Source
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ID: 14051455
Entered the Service From: North Carolina
Rank: Technical Sergeant

Service: U.S. Army Air Forces, 321st Bomber Squadron, 90th Bomber Group, Heavy

World War II Honoree - KIA

World War II Honoree - KIA Registry Memorial

War Department File

Manila American Cemetery Memorial

Jolly Roger Airman Details

Died: Tuesday, February 29, 1944
Memorialized at: Manila American Cemetery
Location: Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines

Awards: Purple Heart

On February 29, 1944, Ned Potter was on a night time bombing mission on a plane piloted by 1st Lt. Owen L. Buford. The plane was a B-24D1 Liberator. The mission was over enemy targets in the vicinity of Hollandia, Papua, New Guinea (P.N.G.). The aircraft was launched from Air Strip #1, Nadzab, Papua, New Guinea. Also manifested onboard were Navigator, 2nd Lt. Gerald R. Hill, Co-Pilot, 2nd Lt. Paul G. Meyer, Bombardier, 2nd Lt. Jack W. Rosher, Engineer, TSgt. Ned Potter (SN 14051455), Radio Operator, TSgt. Robert W. Witt, Gunner, SSgt. Julian S. Miller (of Charlotte, North Carolina), Gunner, SSgt. James J. Parks, Gunner, SSgt Kenneth W. Rode, and Gunner, SSgt Willard L. Turner.
Technical Sargeant, Ned Potter and the entire crew were killed when the B-24D1 Liberator bomber crashed into the side of a mountain near the village of Menum, Markham District, Marobe Province, Papua, New Guinea about 15 miles east of Nadzab, Pappaeu, New Guinea. He served in the United States Army Air Corps, 321st Bomb Squadron, 90th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force, as a Technical Sargeant and an engineer on the B-24D bomber during WW II.
An eyewitness account from a pilot of a nearby plane said that Lt. Buford's aircraft took off at approximately 0105 hours (local) in a normal attitude, despite using more of the runway than the other planes on the mission. The aircraft appeared to be climbing at a slower rate than the other planes that had preceded it. Approximately 4-5 minutes after take-off, a large explosion was observed 15 miles east of the field. He stated that there was an intense explosion with fire reaching 1500 feet into the night sky. The aircraft had a full load of fuel and ordnance. The cause of the crash was never determined. All ten crew members were lost. He left two small children and a wife. His daughter, Nettie was 5 and his son, Ned was 3. The Report of Death of the War Department was signed on April 10, 1944 by the Adjutant General, J. A. Marshall.
In the early 1980s, an Australian bushman was hiking in a jungle in New Guinea and discovered an old aircraft with the tail numbers still visible. He reported this to the U. S. Army and in May 1982 a recovery team surveyed the B-24 crash site. In August 1983 the team returned to the crash site and verified that the wreckage was that of the B-24D Liberator, tail number 42-72889 (or 42-72899). A detail was dispatched to investigate, recover and identify any remains. Human remains and a metal button were recovered. The Department of Defense said that the aircraft was strewn over a mile through the jungle. The recovery party investigated the site, at times on their hands and knees over the mile on the jungle floor. In July 1989, another team visited the site but recovered no additional remains. On March 18, 1997 nine bone samples were submitted to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis. On June 13, 1997, two of the bones were resampled. Based on the results of the laboratory analyses, as well as circumstantial evidence it was recommended that the remains be identified as the Group Remains entitled case number CILHI 0042-83A. After attempting to identify the crew members, the Army contacted the next of kin.
Nettie, his daughter, was visiting her mother Estelle in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in late January 1998 when she received a telephone call from the Department of Defense in Washington, D. C. The representative stated that after 54 years, Ned Potter's remains and aircraft had been located. She was also told that a representative from the DOD in Washington and a chaplain from Fort Bragg, North Carolina would be contacting her and visiting her home to discuss what was found and what had happened on that night in February 1944. In early March 1998, these individuals came to Nettie's home in LaGrange, Lenoir County, North Carolina. Those present were Nettie, her two sons, Ned and Terry and other family members. The family was told what had happened on that night in 1944 and were also given documents pertaining to the crash from the past 54 years. The family was also told that a military funeral with full honors would be performed for all the crew members at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D. C. on April 20, 1998.
The family along with the other crew member's families met in Washington in April to attend the funeral. The service was conducted at the chapel at Fort Myers, Washington D. C. with burial following at Arlington. The service was conducted by the Honor Guard at Fort Myers. The flag draped casket containing the remains of all the crew members was taken from the chapel by a horse drawn kasod to the mass grave in Arlington. His grandsons Ned and Terry Beasley were permitted by the Army to walk the entire funeral parade route behind the cassion. The military band played and a 21 gun salute was rendered. Ten flags were awarded to the next of kin by the Chaplain and the Honor Guard.
After the funeral service, all of the families had the opportunity to meet at a meeting hall at Fort Myers. Family members present were his daughter, Nettie Potter, her son Ned Beasley and his wife Joretta and children Scott and Natalie Beasley, her son Terry Beasley and his wife Sherry, her daughter Tamela Beasley Rouse and her sons Benjamin and Sanford Rouse. Also, a friend of the family, Annette Chestnutt.
The entire service was video taped by Ned Beasley.
He was married to Estelle Quinn Potter (She remarried to John T. Polivka). She was his 1st cousin. The daughter of his uncle Henry Quinn. Ned and Estelle had 2 children: Nettie Jean Potter Nov. 27, 1938 and Ned Burbeck Potter Feb. 28, 1940.
His parents were Benagy Potter and Mattie Quinn Potter. His paternal grandparents were Needham Tyndall Potter and Eliza Ditney Baker. His paternal great grandparents were Daniel Jr. and Elizabeth Tyndall Potter. His paternal great-great grandparents were Daniel Sr. and Mary Waters Potter. His maternal grandparents were John Henry and Claudia (Clarisie) Jeanette Alphin Quinn.

(Recorded by Kenneth Ned Beasley, grandson)

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  • Created by: K. Ned Beasley
  • Added: 4 Dec 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12604015
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for TSGT Ned Potter (3 Feb 1917–29 Feb 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12604015, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by K. Ned Beasley (contributor 46515856) .