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 3 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!, AVG remains from 1941 Toungoo may have been located (133 Replies, Read 1065741 times)
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
The Flying Tigers Association is pleased to announce:

that the documents recently discovered through exhaustive research by a dedicated JPAC staff member have yielded a strong indication that remains examined and catalogued in reports in 1948 are most likely AVG members Armstrong, Hammer & Atkinson who died in flying accidents in the fall of 1941 while the AVG was training to defend the Burma Road against the Japanese.  There is a fourth set of remains and we are working to determine if there were any other fatalities in Toungoo before the AVG was withdrawn in advance of the invading Imperial Japanese Army.

More details will be forthcoming as they are comfirmed.  We are indeed hopeful that more of our Tigers may be coming Home at last!

Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
Flying Tigers Association


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
BillC
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At long last! Fingers crossed.
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
PetesNephew
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Pete Atkinson's nephew here.  This is truly "out of the wild blue" news, and very welcome indeed.  How 65 years had to pass for the cemetery bureaucracy to "find" these guys is beyond me, but that's how things work I guess.  They've been buried at Punchbowl in Hawaii since 1948, and ironically enough my dad and I went there in 1990 to look for his brother and we had no luck at all.
Anyway, they've taken a DNA swab from my Aunt Mary, who is the last surviving sibling of Pete Atkinson, and now we just wait with fingers crossed.

Thanks for keeping the memory of these guys alive.

Jim Atkinson
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
LydiaRossi
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Widow of AVG pilot J. R. Rossi
This is such welcome news. After all these years to find them in US soil. Happy for the families at last!
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
3AVG@Toungoo
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Niece of John D. Armstrong
The family of John Dean Armstrong is so excited at this possibility. My cousin, Karen Beauprie and I have been searching for information including the location of the graves since 2005. Our initial goal was to find information about the Distinguished Flying Cross which was awarded posthumously.  Through the FT Association we learned it was in safekeeping and it was received on behalf of our grandparents, Guy and Margaret Armstrong of Hutchinson, Kansas who never recovered the remains of their only son.  Thank you Lydia.  Our next goal has been an exhaustive search for information about the location of my uncle's grave.  Learning that there were two others killed in training accidents and buried in the same cemetery started a connection among the families of John Armstrong, Maax Hammer and Pete Atkinson.  My cousin and I have never given up; convincing JPAC to accept our case based on the fact that even though they were civilians when they died, they were Naval and Army pilots respectively who were left behind after Pearl Harbor and not recovered.  Hoping so much for resolution and will appreciate the efforts of the FT Association when the time comes to convince JPAC we believe these remains are our relatives.  If they are not, well then, they belong to someone who has also been waiting.


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Lynn Evans
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
TigerNephew
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Regarding Peter William Atkinson.
Peter is the brother of my mother, the late Theresa Atkinson, U.S. Army Nurse.
My wife and I went to the grave sites at Punchbowl National Cemetery with the Investigator Ken. His team has been working real hard on this. Ken located the exact three makers labeled UNKNOWN that are highly suspected to be the three missing members of the AVG. There are more than one thousand similar grave markers. The investigation may continue for several months is what we heard. Big Respect to the dedicated JPAC staff.
"It's easy to keep focused when you have the memory of 3 AVG heroes looking
over your shoulder!" is the message attached to this photo of Investigator Ken.
Aloha, Patrick
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
mayor
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If I agreed with you, then we'd both be wrong
Just out of curiosity, weren't any AVG members that died in Burma or China, buried right there or were they disinterred after the AVG was disbanded and sent back to the states (or Pearl)?
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
This is a great question, mayor....thanks for bringing up this timely question in light of the possible discovery of the AVG who were buried in Toungoo, Burma.  With the rigors of wartime (enemy bombing, invasion by the Imperial Japanese Army, etc.) retrieval of remains was problematic.

We are tracking 23 AVG who were lost in the CBI theater up to and including the 2 weeks after their July 4, 1942 disbandment.  Several were lost later with either the 23FG/CATF or the 14AF.  The AVG losses were:

    9 - flying/training accidents (Armstrong, Hammer, Atkinson, Baugh,
            Mangleburg, Sandell, Merritt, Jones, Blackburn)

  10 - groundfire/bombing/strafing (Cole, Leibolt, Fauth, Newkirk, Swartz,
            Foshee, Donovan, Little, Petach, Shamblin)

    4 - air-to-air encounters (Neil Martin, Henry Gilbert, Louis "Cokey" Hoffman,
            Bert Christman <shot in his parachute>)

At the September 2013 Reunion of the AVG in Huntsville, AL it was announced to the AVG families that the efforts with the DPMO/JPAC to recover the three AVG from Toungoo were being expanded to include all AVG who were lost in the
CBI theater and whose remains were either unaccounted for or not returned to their families in America.

We are still in the process of assembling all of this data; any additional information or comments which any of you AVG Forum members can add will be greatly appreciated.

Tripp


Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
Flying Tigers Association


Edited by aaatripp : September 23, 2014, 3:04 pm

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
The correct number has been adjusted now to 23.  The 24th name was that of Frank Schiel, who was KIA while serving the 23FG as CO of the 74FS.  In the documentaries of the AVG you will view the segment which shows an AVG member pinning on the insignia of the US Army Air Force.  That grinning pilot with the thin mustache is FRANK SCHIEL (formerly of the 1st Pursuit Squadron Adam & Eves)!

We will certainly include Tigers Schiel, Roy Hoffman & Bill Reed in our inquiry though.  Since they were serving with US forces at the time of their deaths it could be assumed that their remains were recovered and brought home. 

Recently, I confirmed that Bill Reed's remains were brought home and he is buried in his home state of Iowa.  Same for Louis Hoffman---he is buried in the
Punchbowl Ntl. Cemetery in Honolulu near two of the "unknowns".

It appears that both John "Scarsdale Jack" Newkirk and Ben Crum Foshee were also brought home as there are webpages which show their gravestones in Scarsdale, NY and Alabama respectively.  The 14th Air Force video with George "Pappy" Paxton's narrated film shows the grave of Frank Swartz in Poona, India.  We will work on determining if his remains were returned to his family. Same  for others like Martin, Gilbert, Christman, Donovan, Blackburn, Little, Mangleburg, Sandell, Merritt, Jones, Baugh, Cole & Fauth.

We know that Armstrong, Hammer, Atkinson, Leibolt, Petach & Shamblin have not yet been either located or positively identified.  Again, we are hoping that the 1st three will prove to be those buried as unknowns in the Punchbowl in Hawaii.

That's our latest update for now.....

Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
Flying Tigers Association




Edited by aaatripp : February 5, 2016, 5:42 pm

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
LydiaRossi
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Widow of AVG pilot J. R. Rossi
Thanks to all concerned for staying with this search for so many years!
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
BenL
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I believe that Frank Shiel is buried in Prescott, AZ.
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
BenL----thanks, this is great news!  What is the source for this new info?

Thanks,
Tripp


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Thanks very much Patrick for posting this great photo of AVG friend Ken Tilley at his desk at JPAC, where he works so very hard to bring our boys home! 

The nearby photos of Armstrong, Hammer & Atkinson are indeed inspirational!

Tripp


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
BenL
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I  wish I had printed an article on Frank Shiel in the Prescott Courier that I ran across a few years back from the late 1990s but since have not been able to find since it only goes back to the year 2000 online now. It told the story of Frank Shiel being born in Phoenix but moving to Prescott at a young age, it gave his boyhood home address, which are now apartments and the fact that he is buried at the Mountain View cemetery. At this time I have not had a chance to go looking for his grave but have seen his name at a World War II memorial at the county square.
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4 Tigers Found!! 3 AVG in Toungoo could be coming Home!
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
BenL----thanks again for your info on Frank Schiel, Jr.

Here's the link as the Courier article is available online:

                  (LINK HAS BEEN MOVED TO MY FOLLOWUP POST)

Another Tiger hero.

Tripp


Edited by aaatripp : May 21, 2014, 6:07 am

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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