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 Waldo Balukevicuis

Waldo Balukevicuis

Birth
New Hampshire, USA
Death 27 Nov 1942 (aged 25)
Philippines
Burial Hudson, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, USA
Memorial ID 135558433 · View Source
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USAAF WORLD WAR II
T/5th Grade Waldo Balukevicuis POW/DIS
Hometown: New Hampshire
Squadron: 17th Pursuit Squadron 24th Pursuit Group
Service#
Awards:
Pilot
Waldo is shown in the POW database as becoming a prisoner on May 7, 1942 and was held at Japanese POW Osaka Main Camp, Chikko, Osaka 34-135.

Mission Date:17th Pursuit Squadron 1 October 1941 – 2 April 1946 Squadron operated from: Nichols Field, Luzon, 5 December 1941 Squadron operated from: Clark Field, Luzon, 9–25 December 1941 Squadron operated from: Pilar Airfield, Luzon, 26 December 1941 – 8 January 1942 Attached to Fifth Air Force Headquarters after 1 May 1942 until inactivation

Aircraft Models: Curtiss P-40E, 1941-1942 (The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk is an American single-engined, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground-attack aircraft).
There were a total of 107 Curtiss P-40s that were assigned to the 24th Pursuit Group, most being received after the transition from the 4th Composite Group. They were a mix of P-40Bs and P-40Es, mostly Es. Also, there were several P-40E-1s that were shipped to the Philippines that were still in crates at the Manila Air Depot on 8 December 1941. It is unknown whether or not these saw service against the Japanese.

The 24th Pursuit Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was wiped out in the Battle of the Philippines (1941–42). The survivors fought as infantry during Battle of Bataan and after their surrender, were subjected to the Bataan Death March, although some did escape to Australia. The unit was never remanned or equipped. It was carried as an active unit until 2 April 1946.

1/25/42 FEAF
The first AAF pur sq (17th Pur Sq), (Prov) under Maj Charles A Sprague, arrives in Java with 13 P- 40's flown from Australia.

Gleaned from the history of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the US resistance. Tech/5 Balukevicuis would most likely have been ground crew for the maintenance and assembly of the squadrons P-40's. After the bombings and invasion the ground echelon of the 17th Pursuit Squadron was moved from Nichols Field and Manila to Pilar and from there to Kabobo point where the took up beach defenses.

What was left of the group were based at temporary fields at Orani and Pilar in northern Bataan, and later withdrawn on 8 January to "Bataan Field," located several miles from the southern tip of the peninsula. Bataan field consisted of a dirt runway, hacked out of the jungle by Army engineers in early 1941 and lengthened after the FEAF was ordered into Bataan. However, it was well camouflaged. It was attacked and strafed daily by the Japanese, however no aircraft were lost on the ground as a result of the attacks. Bataan Field, along with airfields at Cabcaben and Mariveles were kept in operation for several months during the Battle of Bataan. The remaining pilots continued operations with the few planes that were left, cannibalizing aircraft wreckage to keep a few planes airborne in the early months of 1942.

With the surrender of the United States Army on Bataan, Philippines on 8 April 1942, the remaining air echelon of the 24th Pursuit Group withdrew to Mindanao Island and began operating from Del Monte Airfield with whatever aircraft were remaining. The last of the group's aircraft were captured or destroyed by enemy forces on or about 1 May 1942. With the collapse of organized United States resistance in the Philippines on 8 May 1942, a few surviving members of the squadron managed to escape from Mindanao to Australia where they were integrated into existing units.

T/5th Grade Balukevicuis most likely became a prisoner after the fall of Bataan and died later as a POW. He does not appear in ABMC data as missing so most likely his remains werre recovered after 1946 and returned to be interred in this New Hampshire cemetery.


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Inscription

TEC5, 17 AAF PUR SQ, 24 PUR GP WORLD WAR II


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  • Created by: John Dowdy
  • Added: 7 Sep 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 135558433
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Waldo Balukevicuis (2 Dec 1916–27 Nov 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 135558433, citing Holy Cross Cemetery, Hudson, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, USA ; Maintained by John Dowdy (contributor 47791572) .