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Searching for a lost airman...

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by JMKeene, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. JMKeene

    JMKeene recruit

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    Hi all,

    I'm here because I've been searching the web for information on airmen lost in the Pacific during battles on/near Borneo. About all I can find are typical chronologies, but nothing specific to actual lost airmen. I was thinking since most of you are WWII buffs, you might have some links that could help me.

    In particular, I'm looking for information on a Lt. John Robert Graf, Service #0773623 that went missing over Tarakan, Borneo while doing photo recon in a P-38 named "Bad Penny". His own plane was named "Sky Chief", but he was filling in for another pilot the day he went missing in bad weather.

    He was a member of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, 13th AAF, Southwest Pacific and went missing February 22, 1945 and he was the pilot/photographer the day he was lost.

    Any information or links that could be provided that might help to learn more about John would be greatly appreciated. As I've said, I've found all of the typical links you might find doing a Google search of the 17th Reconnaisance, but no specifics. What I'm really looking for are groups dedicated to the lost airmen that might have something more specific to include in a genealogical tribute to my cousin's granduncle, John Robert.

    As for me, I was active duty Air Force from March 1972 - September 1975. I was stationed at Edwards, AFB from 1972-1974, working in Transient Alert (witnessed firsthand the first wingless prototype F-15 roll out the belly of a C-5A Galaxy and watched the entire F-15 program as it was being developed, as was the case with the F-16 & F-17 (now F-18) prototypes and the A-9 & A-10 prototype flyoff competitions). I was stationed overseas at Udorn RTAFB from October 1974 - September 1975 during the fall of Vietnam & the Mayaguez incident as a phase maintenance mechanic on F-4 Phantom jets.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance offered!

    Joe Keene
    jmkeene@tampabay.rr.com
     
  2. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Welcome to the forum Joe. We do have some members who are knowledgable on the pacific theater as well as with air forces. It is a tough request but hopefully one of them can help. Good luck.
     
  3. Col. Hessler

    Col. Hessler Member

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    Welcome aboard Joe.

    More information on the 17th:

    The Army Air Forces site lists an F-5 (recon version of the P-38) going down on 22 FEB 45, serial number 44-23272.

    You should contact the National Archives and request the Missing Air Crew Report. The Missing Air Crew Report number for the loss of that F-5 is 12697. Send your request to:

    National Archives and Records Administration
    Textual Reference Branch
    8601 Adelphi Road
    College Park, MD 20740-6001
    Phone 301-713-7250

    For a Individual Deceased Personnel File (293 file) contact:
    U.S. Army Personnel Command, Public Affairs Office (FOIA)
    200 Stovall Street
    Alexandria, VA 22332-0404.

    For personnel records, fill out a SF-180 form and sent it to:
    National Personnel Records Center
    Military Personnel Records
    9700 Page Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

    Here are some more research tips from Army Air Forces.com Army Air Forces: Research Help

    Roll of Honor -17th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron


     
  4. JMKeene

    JMKeene recruit

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    Thanks for the info Col. Hessler. I'll send for that information and see what's in the file. I know they did a search for John, but the weather was tightening and even though they had information on a dye pack in the water, they were never able to find anything. Hope the missing aircrew report sheds some more light.

    Thanks again,

    Joe Keene
     
  5. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Welcome Joe, :salute: good luck in your searches.

    I've moved this thread to the appropriate area where it will get more helpful and relevant attention.
     
  6. JMKeene

    JMKeene recruit

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    Thanks, Otto.

    I went to the site that Col. Hessler offered and found John Robert listed in their "Roll of Honor" as John Robert GrafF (the second F being a misspelling). I also checked out the other sites listing casualties, etc. but didn't find him with the correct spelling. Perhaps I should return and do the search with the misspelled version.

    At any rate, it's good to be hot on the trail and I'll be certain to send for the missing aircrew report, which might have more detailed information than was sent at the time of the incident. With the reports of finding aircrews half a century later, there's always hope that John will someday be returned home to his family to be buried next to his parents and brother, Leonard, who recently passed away. No matter how you cut it, Leonard and him have almost certainly already found each other in the great beyond...

    Thanks again for switching this up to the genealogical forum Otto.

    Joe Keene
     
  7. Col. Hessler

    Col. Hessler Member

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    Joe,

    I was doing some checking and his serial number is actually O773623 (O for officer) and not 0773623.

    Here is a link for you to the offical government office responsible for the accounting of missing servicemen:
    Frequently Asked Questions
     
  8. JMKeene

    JMKeene recruit

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    Thanks again Col. Hessler for the clarification on John's service number. I'm preparing the forms to request any further information on his flight (Missing Air Ccrew Report) and his personnel file.

    Again, I'm indebted.

    Sincerely,

    Joe Keene
     
  9. Col. Hessler

    Col. Hessler Member

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    No problem Joe. Keep us updated. Don't expect the National Archives to reply anytime soon though.
     

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