1Lt Irwin G “Zipper” Zaetz

1Lt Irwin G “Zipper” Zaetz

Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont, USA
Death 25 Jan 1944 (aged 26)
Arunachal Pradesh, India
Memorial Site* Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines

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

Plot Tablets of the Missing
Memorial ID 56786488 · View Source
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308th BG, 425th B Sq
'Flying Tigers'
MIA-KIA 25 January 1944

He was the son of Morris Gersh Zaetz and Jennie Picard of Burlington VT. He was the fourth of six children - Doris Zaetz, Saul Paul Zaetz, Harry George Zaetz, Leah Zaetz Rafsky, and Larry Gordon Zaetz. He was married in Highlands Co FL to Ethyle Wolfe in 1942.

This plane, B-24J #42-73308, and its crew were assigned to the 308th Bombardment Group, 425th Bombardment Squadron. It was nicknamed ‘Hot As Hell' with a seated woman on the right side of the nose. This B-24 flew more than 14 combat missions and claimed four fighters. The aircraft ook off from Kunming Airfield in China on a routine flight to Chabua Airfield in India. The wreckage was located on December 7, 2006 by Clayton Kuhles of miarecoveries.org in Damrah, Arunchal Pradesh State, India.

The crew members were~

Pilot 1st Lt William A Swanson, ASN O-728935 (MIA / KIA) from Proctor, VT
Co-Pilot F/O Sheldon Leroy Chambers, ASN T-000291 (MIA / KIA) from Altoona, PA
Navigator 1st Lt Irwin 'Zipper' Zaetz, ASN O-791661 (MIA / KIA) from Burlington, VT
Bombardier 1st Lt Robert E Oxford, ASN O-663308 (MIA / KIA) from Concord, GA
Engineer SSgt Charles D 'Buck' Ginn, ASN 15084114 (MIA / KIA) from Crete, IL
Radio SSgt Harry B Queen, ASN 11021096 (MIA / KIA) from Onset, MA
Gunner Sgt James A Hinson, ASN 14188472 (MIA / KIA) from Greensboro, NC
Gunner Sgt Alfred H Gerrans, Jr, ASN 34315848 (MIA / KIA) from Kinston, NC

paraphrased from an article in the Raleigh News & Observer-----------

First Lt. Irwin Zaetz, 26, earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. He normally flew in another B-24, the 'Chug-a-Lug Junior', but he was serving as a replacement on the B-24 'Hot as Hell'. Zaetz was a star athlete in three sports at Burlington High School in Burlington VT and was nickhamed 'Zipper' because of the way he moved up and down the basketball court. He was known as a sharp dresser, and was always a gentleman, careful in saying and doing the right thing.

Irwin Zaetz had been married less than two years to his high school sweetheart, Ethel.

Reportedly there was heavy fog the day the plane and crew disappeared. Five planes flew the same route that day, and all five crashed. Some crew members on three of the planes survived, but those on 'Hot as Hell' and another plane vanished.

Family Members




  • Maintained by: Gary Zaetz
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56786488
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 1Lt Irwin G “Zipper” Zaetz (2 Nov 1917–25 Jan 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56786488, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by Gary Zaetz (contributor 47117421) .