John Kvaka

John Kvaka

Czech Republic
Death 15 Aug 1943 (aged 24)
Morobe, Papua New Guinea
Burial Monessen, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 156594773 · View Source
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Son of John Kvaka (20 August 1891 Czechoslovakia - March 1969) and Mary Kvaka (Czechoslovakia). John Kvaka, Jr was born in Polom, Czechoslovakia.

John Kvaka, Jr (1918 Czechoslovakia), a resident of 1134 Rostraver Street, Monessen, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, enlisted as a Private in the U.S. Army Air Corps (S/N 13057826) on 04 February 1942 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He was single and had completed 4 years of high school. John was described as 5"6" and 153 lbs. He entered active service on 06 February 1942.
John was a member of the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, 374th Troop Carrier Group, USAAF. He was a radioman aboard a military transport Douglas C-47 Skytrain "Liliane" (Serial Number 41-18682, Tail VH-CCI) that was shot down 15 August 1943 in the Tsili Tsili area in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. The plane “took off from Port Moresby with personnel of the 35th Fighter Command Squadron and 39th Fighter Squadron. While approaching Tsile Tsile Airfield at low height, the aircraft was attacked by a Japanese Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar led by Shigeo Nango of the 59th Sentai.

In the initial attack, the aircraft was set on fire, and passenger Dockery was seriously wounded in the shoulder. The captain attempted to make an emergency landing when attacked a second time, he was killed. The aircraft hit trees and crashed in a wooded area near Tsili Tsili.

Australian troops reached the crash site about an hour later. They found Robert Heller alive, and he had sustained injuries to both legs. He was thrown clear of the wreckage when its fuel tanks exploded. He was taken to Tsili Tsili, where he was evacuated back to Port Moresby. Two hours after being admitted to the hospital there, he died. Also shot down was another C-47 (Serial Number 41-18668). Sources: and

“One flight of the C-47's had just landed when twelve Sallys, escorted by an equal number of fighters and flying low enough to have avoided the Allied radar, roared in though mountain passes. Japanese shells riddled one airborne C-47 of the second flight and caused it to crash, killing all occupants; another transport vanished into the surrounding mountains and was never found. Source:

Aboard the C-47 "Liliane" that day were:
Crew (374th TCG)
Pilot: 1st Lt. Enoch P. Burley, O-66496 (KIA)
Co-Pilot: 1st Lt James F. Miles, O-66508 (KIA)
Crew Chief: T/Sgt Edward R. Bering, 682536 (KIA)
Radio: Pvt John Kvaka, Jr., 13057826 (KIA)
Captain Robert C. Heller (39th Fighter Squadron, Dental Officer) (WIA/KIA)
Cpl Virgil H. Dockery (39th Fighter Squadron, Dental Assistant) (KIA)

Private John Kvaka Jr's remains were returned to the US and buried in the Grandview Cemetery on 14 July 1948.

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  • Created by: steve s
  • Added: 31 Dec 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 156594773
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Kvaka (26 Apr 1919–15 Aug 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 156594773, citing Grandview Cemetery, Monessen, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by steve s (contributor 47126287) .