August 19, 1921 (Norwalk, CT) – July 7, 1943; 21 years old
Last local address: 10 East Rocks Road
Service number: 6421589
TORPEDO SQUADRON 21
Awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
Norwalk High School Class of ’39
DURNER, Jacob C Jr, ARM2, 6421589, USNR, from Connecticut, location Solomon Islands, missing, date of loss July 7, 1943 (pm) + DURNER, Jacob C, Aviation Radioman Second Class, 6421589, USN, from Connecticut, Jul-43, Manila American Cemetery (bm) + DURNER, Jacob Casper, Jr., Aviation Radioman 2c, USNR. Father, Mr. Jacob Casper Durner, Sr., 10 E. Rock Ave., Norwalk, Conn (na) + DURNER, Jacob C, Jr, ARM2, 6421589, Torpedo Squadron 21, New Georgia-Rendova-Vangunu occupation, July 7, 1943, (CasCode122) died of wounds, dd July 7, 1943 (bp2)
On July 7, 1943 at the age of 23, Lt. (jg) Malcolm “Chile” McKinney and his turret gunner (Durner) were killed in action flying the TBF-1 Avenger with bureau number 06063. The radioman survived. It was a night mission against enemy shipping, a common tactic on moonlit nights in the Pacific. American radar was good at detecting surface ships, but also helpful was the white propeller wash that trailed behind every moving ship’s stern which became a long “pointer” for dive bombers, both American and Japanese. The CAG-21 War Diary describes Chile’s last mission. “7 July 1943: 1720 [5:20 pm takeoff] – 2230 [10:30 pm return]: 3 TBF’s from VT-21 proceeded to the Buin-Kahili area on an anti-shipping strike. There was reported to be a large number of enemy ships in this area. One ship was observed in the harbor with all planes making a run on it. Considerable AA [antiaircraft fire] was encountered from the ship with two planes suffering considerable damage. McKinney was attacked by an enemy plane and his plane was further damaged and his turret gunner mortally wounded. McKinney was unable to control his plane and crashed upon attempting a water landing. The radioman was rescued but no trace was found of the pilot. Our losses – 1 dead; 1 missing in action; 1 plane. Enemy losses – 1 DD [destroyer] hit and probably sunk.” The Cooper, TX newspaper adds, “…The radioman in Lieut. McKinney’s crew was rescued unconscious and later recalled that the plane had made a crash landing at sea.” The War Diary of the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, Daily Summary for July 1943, stated that on 7 July “3 TBFs and 1 Hudson [A-29 Lockheed] attacked an enemy DD west of MOILI POINT [Moila Point, southwestern-most tip of Bougainville Island]. No hits observed. The Hudson is missing and 1 TBF crashed with pilot and gunner missing.”
From The Norwalk Hour July 23, 1943
Aviation Radioman Jacob “Jackie” C. Durner Jr., 21 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Casper Durner of 10 East Rocks Road, was reported today as killed in action in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country by the U.S. Navy Department. Radioman Durner had been on active duty in the South Pacific with the U.S. Navy for the past ten months. The family received a telegram from the Naval Department on Wednesday telling of the boy’s death. “Jackie” as he was known to his many friends in Norwalk, was a well known athlete, having starred in soccer, football, basketball and baseball at Norwalk High School. He was rated as one of the outstanding pole vaulters in Connecticut. He was graduated from Norwalk High School in June of 1939 and enlisted in tee Navy in April 1942. Prior to enlistment he was a shipping clerk in the J and J Cash, Inc. Following his “boot” training, Jackie was given a four-month course at the Naval Training School, Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington, and was graduated on September 18, 1942 with a rating of aviation radioman, third class. He left immediately for sea duty. No particulars of the death were disclosed by the Navy Department.
Memorialized at Sea Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery Manila, Philippines