Sgt Joseph Breitenkamm

Sgt Joseph Breitenkamm

New Jersey, USA
Death 16 Jun 1945 (aged 20–21)
At Sea
Cenotaph Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 56116217 · View Source
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Son of Mrs. Lena Breitenkamm who resided in Paterson, New Jersey.

Joseph served as a Sergeant & Engineer / Gunner on B-24M #44-50345, 404th Bomber Squadron, 28th Bomber Group, Heavy, U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.

He resided in Passaic County, New Jersey prior to the war.

He enlisted in the Army on June 29, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being employed as a routemen and also as Married.

B-24M #44-50345 took off from Shemya Air Force Base, Shemya Island on a bombing mission in search of ships near the Kuril Islands. They did not return to base. One crew member was observed by other planes in the area as floating in a raft and another floating near the raft in the area.

Joseph was declared "Missing In Action" in this crash during the war

He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

Service # 42000834

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Airmen who perished on B-24M #44-50345:

Bain, Joseph M ~ 2nd Lt, Radar Observer, LA
Breitenkamm, Joseph ~ Sgt, Engineer, NJ
Brevik, Richard S ~ 2nd Lt, Pilot, WI
Ekstrand, Calvin S ~ Corp, Gunner, ND
Hollembeak, Henry N, Jr ~ 2nd Lt, Bombardier, KS
Kennedy, Cecil F ~ Sgt, Radio Operator, IA
Martin, Harold E ~ 2nd Lt, Co-Pilot, MD
Wolf, Karl H ~ Corp, Gunner, TX

The only survivor of this B-24 was Corp. William V. Cavanaugh. He gave the following account of this crash:

On June 16, 1945 at 4:30 PM Aleutian time, we were on a shipping strike, flying low level, and making a pass at a Japanese gunboat. We were hit by flak and the plane went out of control, hitting the water. The pilot and I were the only ones to get out. We inflated our life raft, but the pilot died the next morning. I was picked up three days later by a Japanese destroyer.

Cpl. Cavanaugh said he was on the destroyer about an hour when they landed at a Japanese navel base on the island of Paramushiro. He was then put on a freighter and locked up in solitary confinement for ten days, getting only rice three times a day.

"What scared me most", continued Cavanaugh, "was the thought of the American subs which were around there at the time."

They finally landed on the island of Hokkaido, the third largest island. He was blindfolded, but the blindfold was removed when he was put on a train for Honshu and the prison camp; a special one for airmen.

"It was the B-29 men that were treated roughly, especially those who were shot down on the homelands... the civilians were the ones who gave it to them." On September 1st, a rescue team liberated Cpl. Cavanaugh.

Note: Cpl. Cavanaugh was held at the Tokyo Pow Camp Shinjuku, Tokyo Bay Area, 35-140.

Bio & Crew Report by:
Russell S. "Russ" Pickett


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56116217
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sgt Joseph Breitenkamm (1924–16 Jun 1945), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56116217, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by War Graves (contributor 6) .