LT Robert S. “Bob” Emerson

LT Robert S. “Bob” Emerson

Norway, Oxford County, Maine, USA
Death 3 Apr 1945 (aged 25)
Burial Paris, Oxford County, Maine, USA
Plot Ave 2 Sec B #B
Memorial ID 41889070 · View Source
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In Loving Memory of Lieutenant Robert S. Emerson. At the age of 25, Lieutenant Robert S. Emerson lost his life over Cebu Island in the Philippines on April 3, 1945 during a flight mission in support of Allied troops.

He is the recipient of the Purple Heart, honoring the sacrifice of his life to his country during World War II. Robert was known to his family as "Bob" and was the son of Alice Mae Howe Emerson and George E. Emerson of 1 Orchard Street, Norway, born on November 13, 1919.

Robert was an outstanding track and basketball athlete at Norway High School, where he graduated in 1937. After graduation he worked at the Norway National Bank until he enlisted in the Army on January 27, 1942 for aviation pilot training. He attended pre-flight training at Maxwell Field, Alabama, completing courses in flying, airplane and engine operations, radio code and communication, military law and meteorology. Lt. Emerson then attended flight schools at Carlstrom Field, Arcadia, Florida and Bainbridge, Georgia before his graduation on January 14, 1943 from the Columbus Army Flying School, an advanced aviation school near Columbus, Mississippi. There he received the Silver Wings of a flying officer and a commission as Second Lieutenant (2nd Lt.) in the U.S. Army Air Forces.

In addition, he was the recipient of the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Pilot Wings, Skill Marksmanship Quai Badges for Sharpshooter and Marksman, Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation and Honorable Service Lapel Button.

Second Lieutenant Robert S. Emerson was the co-pilot of a B-25 aircraft for the flight mission on April 3, 1945. Five other crew members also lost their lives in the crash. In 1947, the B-25 aircraft was recovered from the Philippines. However, at the time, individual identification of 2nd Lt. Robert S. Emerson and four of the crew members on the mission was unsuccessful. They were laid to rest in Manila, and transferred in December 1949 to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, where they rested until approximately November of 2008. From November 2008 through September 2009, DNA analysis through modern technology was performed in Hawaii and the five crew members have now been identified and returned to their families.

On Saturday, July 9, 2011, 2nd Lt. Robert S. Emerson will return home to his family with a graveside funeral service at 2:00 pm at the Norway Pine Grove Cemetery in South Paris, where he will join his mother Alice Mae Howe Emerson, his father George E. Emerson, and his brothers Erlon W. Emerson and Stanley E. Emerson. His sisters Adeline Emerson Illemann and Lila Emerson Goldsmith, are laid to rest with their husbands elsewhere.

Robert is survived by his nieces Patricia A. Beasley, Barbara G. Casey, and Nancy Illemann Rock, his great nephew Christopher B. Lee and his great niece Kathryn C. May.

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The following article, from the Oxford Hills Sun Journal, 09 Jul 2011, along with photos & video, can be found by clicking here.

"66 years later: Norway vet laid to rest"

by Terry Karkos

PARIS — Flags across the state flew at half-staff Saturday as Norway buried a native son 66 years after he died in the Philippines during World War II.

Second Lt. Robert S. Emerson, 25, a U.S. Army aviator, was one of five servicemen on board a B-25J Mitchell bomber that stalled and crashed into Palawan Field in the Philippines on April 3, 1945.

Emerson was the last of the five to be buried this year.

In an emotional service at Pine Grove Cemetery, Emerson was honored with a 21-gun salute and a flyover by an Air Guard KC135 Tanker with the 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor.

"This is a glorious day, because 2nd Lt. Robert S. Emerson has finally come home to be with family, especially with his mother and father," Emerson's niece, Patricia A. Beasley of Apex, N.C., said following the service.

Beasley, who was 5 years old when her uncle died, was referring to the family plot where Emerson's mother, Alice, his father, George, and his brothers, Erlon and Stanley, are buried.

In the lot, the family had placed a memorial stone, hoping that one day their youngest son would come home, niece Nancy Illemann Rock said.

"It's been a long journey — 66 years — and it finally happened," Beasley said.

Prior to the service by Chandler Funeral Home of South Paris, the Army and the Rev. Michael Ring, World War II Air Force veteran Merle Glines reminisced about his childhood buddy.

The 88-year-old Glines of South Paris was a T5 gun ordinance man who installed machine guns on bombers like those Emerson flew.

Glines also served in the Philippines on Palawan and Leyte, and on Biak, an island in New Guinea.

"He was smarter than me," Glines said of Emerson.

"I flunked out of flight school — washing out, they used to call it," he said. "I didn't do it in a purposeful manner, because I was dying to fly, but it's a good thing I didn't."

Emerson, he said, was his brother's age and they both played basketball a lot at the house.

"He was really a neat guy," Glines said. "He was always nicer to me than my brother, probably because he didn't have to put up with me."

Watching the hearse carrying Emerson's flag-draped casket arrive, Glines reflected on the 66-year effort by the U.S. Department of Defense to find the remains of the five servicemen, to bring them stateside, to identify them and to return them to their next of kin.

"It's about time," Glines said. "I'm amazed that the government finally got it right and got him home. It was a long time, but hey, he sure did his part."

As Glines took a seat, Patriot Guard Riders stood single-file nearby, the flags they held flapping smartly in the breeze.

The Maine State Honor Guard walked the casket bearing Emerson's remains to his grave.

The Rev. Ring read a few Bible verses, and then Emerson's obituary, during which a bird of prey began to float on thermals nearby, prompting Beasley to later identify it as her uncle's spirit.

Emerson enlisted in the Army on Jan. 27, 1942, for aviation pilot training. He flew several missions before the fatal one in 1945 in which he was the co-pilot, Ring said.

Remains of the five were initially buried on Leyte Island in early 1947, then exhumed and sent to Manila.

In 1949, they were sent to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Mo., exhumed again two years later when more remains were found and reburied for 57 years, Ring said.

In 2008, the remains were disinterred a third time and sent to Hawaii where they were identified through DNA matching.

Ring read a letter Emerson wrote to his sister, Lila, about two weeks before the fatal crash, telling her to buy flowers for their mother for Mother's Day and he would reimburse her when he returned home in the summer of 1946.

He told her he had flown about 10 missions in about nine months of combat and was a few missions from going home.

Following a poem everyone read and a prayer, Lt. Col. Peter Ogden, director of the Maine Veterans Services, said Emerson flew missions supporting Charlie Co. from Norway and New Englanders in the 43rd Division.

He then read a citation as Gov. Paul LePage presented Beasley with a folded Maine flag and a Maine Gold Star service medal.

The honor guard fired off a 21-gun salute, the first volley of which startled everyone.

Maine Army National Guard bugler Spc. Dennis Haiss performed taps while Glines stood with the crowd and saluted Emerson's casket.

As Haiss played the last few notes, Major Bill Dunn of the Air National Guard precisely timed his piloting of the refueling tanker over the treetops, slowly flying south to north over Emerson's grave.

Some began to cry.

Then, they watched the honor guard remove the flag from the casket, fold it and present it to Beasley to close the service.

by Terry Karkos

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Emerson- Died April 3, 1945 in the Philippines. Lt. Robert S. Emerson. Graveside services will be held on Saturday, July 9 at 2 p.m. at Norway Pine Grove Cemetery in South Paris. Arrangements are under the direction of the U.S. Army and Chandler Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, 45 Main St., South Paris.

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  • Maintained by: Spaceman Spiff
  • Originally Created by: stargazer
  • Added: 12 Sep 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 41889070
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LT Robert S. “Bob” Emerson (13 Nov 1919–3 Apr 1945), Find a Grave Memorial no. 41889070, citing Norway Pine Grove Cemetery, Paris, Oxford County, Maine, USA ; Maintained by Spaceman Spiff (contributor 46783007) .