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bobgee

Tragedy Over Weatherford, Texas - 08-17-1945

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Last year at the Military Collectibles Show in Cleburne, Texas I obtained a small group of WWII AAF insignia. In this case I didn't just buy the items, I bought the story.

 

The group consists of a named Aviation Cadet badge with photo, a nice pilot's wing by Orber, a set of AAF officer's branch insignia and one pair each of 1st & 2nd Lt's bars. The pilot's name was A.K. Stinson. The half Riker mount also contained 2 photos - one of a handsome young AF officer wearing his A-2 jacket and the other, a picture of Aubrey K. Stinson's grave stone. A short synopsis of the circumstances of Lt. Stinson's death and that of his crew was also in the frame. They died on August 17th, 1945 in a mid-air collision over Weatherford, Texas while on a training mission prior to deployment to the Pacific.

 

STINSON 6.jpg

 

STINSON 2.jpg

 

The battle for Okinawa had recently ceased after more than three months of fierce fighting. The next major action being planned was the invasion of mainland Japan. One million casualties and many months of combat were anticipated. Units from Europe where the war had ended in May were being re-equipped, retrained and scheduled for movement to the Pacific.

 

On August 6th an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, hoping to send a message to the Empire of Japan that the war was lost for them. There was no response. On August 9th, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Hundreds of thousands Japanese were killed by these two bombs. The U.S. waited for a response. It finally came on August 15th when Emperor Hirohito announced that the war would cease.

 

In spite of this announcement, there was no official surrender and training continued. Two B-29s from different bases in New Mexico were scheduled to fly missions to Fort Worth, Texas which simulated flying from Guam to Tokyo and return. These two aircraft would have a tragic meeting over the small community of Weatherford, Texas just west of Fort Worth. 18 airmen would die. The Japanese Empire finally signed unconditional surrender documents aboard the U.S.S Missouri on September 2nd.

 

 

Here's a link to an article on the full story of the incident and a memorial marker that was erected in 2003 in Weatherford to remember these young men.

 

 

http://texasescapes.com/WorldWarII/TragedyOverWeatherfordTexas.htm


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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Here's Lt. Stinson's group.

 

stinson_frame_11.jpg

stinson_frame_21.jpg


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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Bob thank you sharing...simple items and yet a powerful story.


Always looking for items associated with the China Marines! Visit chinamarine.org

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WOW! RIP Lt. Stinson and the other 17 brave men.

 

Al


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