CPL Laverne J Zehler

CPL Laverne J Zehler

Birth
Batavia, Genesee County, New York, USA
Death
26 May 1945 (aged 30)
Itabashi-ku, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan
Memorial Site*
Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA

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

Plot
Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID
56136303 View Source

A WWII story of bravery, courage, service and sacrifice.
— Before dawn on March 10, 1945, a U.S. B-29 bomber (" #44-69686 -Tall in the Saddle") departed from Guam on a bombing mission as part of the “Raid over Tokyo”. It crashed into the woods outside a rural village some 45 km northeast of Tokyo. The bomber, presumably hit by antiaircraft artillery, managed to fly northeast until it eventually crashed in the woods near the village of Itabashi, now known as Ina. Nine airmen perished in the crash:
Capt Gordon L. Muster,
2nd Lt Eugene G. Cook,
1st Lt Theodore R. Homling,
1st Lt Earl J. Hake,
2nd Lt John R Hagadorn,
Cpl Willard A Seitz,
Cpl Fred T Hartley,
Cpl Donald J Heaney,
Maj Sam P. Bakshas.
They were buried at the crash site by the Japanese and recovered at that site by the graves registration personnel. Three of the 12-member crew survived the crash.
2nd Lt. Leland Fishback
Cpl. LaVerne Zehler ( my uncle)
Cpl. Glenn H Hodak
The three were taken to Tokyo Kempei Tai Hq. Fishback, who was severely injured, was taken to the Imperial Household Grounds and beheaded upon the order of an Eastern Area Army colonel. The colonel was sentenced to death as a war criminal after the war.
The other two [Cpl. LaVerne Zehler and Cpl. Glenn H Hodak] were held as POWs at the Tokyo Military prison and died during a fire on May 26, 1945. According to a book called " Mission to Tokyo" by Robert F Door , "the B-29 crewmembers were locked in their cramped cells with no way out. Generally , sixteen to nineteen men, sometimes piled on top of one another, would be placed into these filthy , vermin- infested cells, which were approximately 6 feet square." This is where Laverne and the other POW’s spent their last days .
--In 1998, Hidesaburo Kusama from the village of Itabashi, an 8 years old at the time of the crash, launched his own investigation into the fate of the POWs. He interviewed witnesses and examined government records, mainly from the United States. In 2001, 56 years after the crash, he personally financed a monument at the crash site. Hidesaburo Kusama was joined by U.S. Air Force Col. Donald Weckhorst at the unveiling of the monument in Ina, Ibaraki Prefecture, for those who died in the crash of a U.S. bomber during World War II. During the ceremony, Col. Donald Weckhorst, expressed gratitude to Kusama and local villagers, saying that the monument would help heal the sorrow of the airmen’s relatives and would remind people of the huge sacrifices that both Japan and the U.S. paid for today’s peace.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49181783/leland-parmley-fishback
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56110917/glenn-h-hodak
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56136303/laverne-j-zehler
Contributor: DLangfor (47327827) • [email protected] •Acurbelo•The Japan Times (Takuya Asakura), Military records from Us Army Airforce

A WWII story of bravery, courage, service and sacrifice.
— Before dawn on March 10, 1945, a U.S. B-29 bomber (" #44-69686 -Tall in the Saddle") departed from Guam on a bombing mission as part of the “Raid over Tokyo”. It crashed into the woods outside a rural village some 45 km northeast of Tokyo. The bomber, presumably hit by antiaircraft artillery, managed to fly northeast until it eventually crashed in the woods near the village of Itabashi, now known as Ina. Nine airmen perished in the crash:
Capt Gordon L. Muster,
2nd Lt Eugene G. Cook,
1st Lt Theodore R. Homling,
1st Lt Earl J. Hake,
2nd Lt John R Hagadorn,
Cpl Willard A Seitz,
Cpl Fred T Hartley,
Cpl Donald J Heaney,
Maj Sam P. Bakshas.
They were buried at the crash site by the Japanese and recovered at that site by the graves registration personnel. Three of the 12-member crew survived the crash.
2nd Lt. Leland Fishback
Cpl. LaVerne Zehler ( my uncle)
Cpl. Glenn H Hodak
The three were taken to Tokyo Kempei Tai Hq. Fishback, who was severely injured, was taken to the Imperial Household Grounds and beheaded upon the order of an Eastern Area Army colonel. The colonel was sentenced to death as a war criminal after the war.
The other two [Cpl. LaVerne Zehler and Cpl. Glenn H Hodak] were held as POWs at the Tokyo Military prison and died during a fire on May 26, 1945. According to a book called " Mission to Tokyo" by Robert F Door , "the B-29 crewmembers were locked in their cramped cells with no way out. Generally , sixteen to nineteen men, sometimes piled on top of one another, would be placed into these filthy , vermin- infested cells, which were approximately 6 feet square." This is where Laverne and the other POW’s spent their last days .
--In 1998, Hidesaburo Kusama from the village of Itabashi, an 8 years old at the time of the crash, launched his own investigation into the fate of the POWs. He interviewed witnesses and examined government records, mainly from the United States. In 2001, 56 years after the crash, he personally financed a monument at the crash site. Hidesaburo Kusama was joined by U.S. Air Force Col. Donald Weckhorst at the unveiling of the monument in Ina, Ibaraki Prefecture, for those who died in the crash of a U.S. bomber during World War II. During the ceremony, Col. Donald Weckhorst, expressed gratitude to Kusama and local villagers, saying that the monument would help heal the sorrow of the airmen’s relatives and would remind people of the huge sacrifices that both Japan and the U.S. paid for today’s peace.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49181783/leland-parmley-fishback
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56110917/glenn-h-hodak
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56136303/laverne-j-zehler
Contributor: DLangfor (47327827) • [email protected] •Acurbelo•The Japan Times (Takuya Asakura), Military records from Us Army Airforce

Gravesite Details

Entered the service from New York.


Family Members