SERGEANT ELMER KALMAN; U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE

February 28, 1925 (Kenvil, NJ) – June 22, 1945; 20 years old; unmarried
Last local address: 21 Dora Street, Stamford; his mother lived at 1 Truman Street, Norwalk
Service number: 31335530
330th Bombardment Group, 458th Bombardment Squadron

Crew 809 of “Colleen” (K-32 SN: 42-93955). According to Don Murray, the photo was taken at Walker Army Air Field in Kansas in late February, ’45. Just prior to Crew 809’s departure for Guam. “I was just out of the hospital and no longer on the crew, but they wanted me in the photo anyway. A touching gesture of friendship”. Little did Don Murray know that this would be one of the last times he would ever see his crew again. This crew sadly was lost on 22 Jun 1945.

They were on what was to be their 13th Mission (Lucky Thirteen). They took off at 0210 Guam time. Their target was to be Tamashima. Minutes into flight the No. 1 engine overheated.

Shortly after that the decision was made to feather and abort the mission. All bombs were salvoed in the ocean. The Aircraft Commander, Carl R. Bauer asked for landing instructions at about 0315 and began to let down. The tower called for landing on the South Runway, but K-32 lined up on North Runway instead. Simultaneously, a heavy squall hit the island. About halfway down on their final approach and perhaps 100 feet above the field, the aircraft made a sudden turn left, evidently to try a go around. The aircraft never completed the full turn and stalled out above the cliff’s edge near the radar antennas and went over. She crashed and burned 500 feet below. The only survivor was Lt. Wallace Howard, the 458th Squadron Gunnery Officer who replaced SGT Henry Mathis (CFC) on that one mission. Howard was riding in the Tail Gunner position and was able to crawl out before the aircraft was engulfed in flames. In hind sight, the crash investigation committee recommended that in the future, any B-29 aircraft capable of remaining aloft on less than four engines should remain aloft until daylight and under no circumstances attempt a night landing. Plane was found in 1997 and the wreck was historically documented in 2002.

Sergeant Kalman is memorialized in a Group Burial plot with Captain Carl R. Bauer, 1Lt Jett W. Foster, and 1Lt James D. Gilbert in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84 Site 425-427.

The final IDs of all members of K-32’s crew who died on 6/22/45 crash have been completed and they were reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery on May 20, 2003, Section 60, Site 7901.

Published by jeffd1121

USAF retiree. Veteran advocate. Committed to telling the stories of those who died while in the service of the country during wartime.

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