1LT Allen Robert Turner

1LT Allen Robert Turner

Birth
Ohio, USA
Death 18 Jul 1946 (aged 26)
Arunachal Pradesh, India
Burial Agawam, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Section Wall 13 Row A Site 3
Memorial ID 195304239 · View Source
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Army Air Force 1st Lt. Allen R. Turner was the pilot of a C-109 aircraft that left India on July 17, 1945, headed over “The Hump” to China when the plane vanished on the notoriously dangerous route over the Himalayas.

An American rescue unit spent 166 hours on 36 airborne missions searching for the four crewmen before the men were declared dead on July 18, 1946.

Over the next 73 years, Turner’s family largely lost hope that his body would ever be found. But next month, the Brookline native’s remains finally are coming home.

“It’s almost unbelievable,” Turner’s granddaughter, Susan Jaskot of Middlefield, Conn., said yesterday. “The most remarkable part is the government did do what it said it was going to do. It never gave up on finding him. And for that, we’re so appreciative.”

Turner, 25, a member of the 1330th Army Air Force Base Unit, Air Transport Command, was hauling fuel, food and other supplies when his plane went missing over the massive mountain range nicknamed “The Hump,” where other aircraft had been lost, said Jeannette Gray, a mortuary affairs officer at the Department of Army Casualty.

The crew never reported mechanical trouble. So when the rescue unit failed to find any trace of a crash, Gray said, they assumed the aircraft had exploded in mid-air because C-109s — modified B-24 Liberators used as fuel tankers — blew up so often, they were nicknamed “C-One-Oh-Booms.”

More than 60 years would pass before Clayton Kuhles, an independent investigator, located the crash site in 2007 in Bishmaknagar, a remote village in India, Gray said.

Kuhles found a section of the plane on which four digits of the tail number were still visible, she said. The military was able to determine that it was the wreckage of Turner’s plane because no other aircraft with those digits in the tail number had gone down in that area.

Two years later, Gray said, the military sent a team to Bishmaknagar and found a villager who turned over the remains of one of the men, who was identified on March 17, 2016, as Turner’s co-pilot, 1st Lt. Frederick W. Langhorst. Langhorst’s remains were turned over to his family in November 2016.

The remains of Turner and Army Air Forces Pfc. Joseph I. Natvik were identified through DNA testing on Sept. 24 of this year, she said. Natvik was buried on Nov. 25, and Turner will be interred on Jan. 4 at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam. His name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Taguig City, Philippines, along with the other MIAs from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will continue its search for the remains of the last of Turner’s crewmen, Cpl. Robert L. McAdoo Jr., despite the crash site’s remote location, Gray said.

After arduous road trips to Bishmaknagar, Gray said, recovery teams have had to hike two days, crossing six rivers and climbing a mountain more than 4,000 feet high to reach the wreck site.

[Published in The Boston Herald, Wednesday, December 12, 2018]


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  • Created by: Dave McCaffrey
  • Added: 12 Dec 2018
  • Find A Grave Memorial 195304239
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 1LT Allen Robert Turner (24 May 1920–18 Jul 1946), Find A Grave Memorial no. 195304239, citing Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Agawam, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Dave McCaffrey (contributor 47476196) .