Missing In Action World War II Aircrew – United States Army Air Force

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Mr. Patterson:

First of all, allow me to praise you for what you are doing at your unofficial Arlington National Cemetery website. Your site is just chock-full of detailed information, far more than on the official site. In fact it was your site where I first discovered mention of Federal Code 38, Sec. 2409, which permits the placement at ANC of memorial headstones for those missing in action. Previously I had believed, as I suspect many still do, that ANC allows only burials. In a very real sense, I have you to thank for what took place last Thursday, May 26, at Arlington–an honors memorial service for three missing USAAF crew members from the 7th Bomb Group, 10th Air Force, WWII (one of them being my cousin). In addition, there are three inscribed memorial headstones in place.

This has been a 12-year personal odyssey leading first to last week's ANC ceremony and then ultimately, I hope, to a book of tribute to the entire crew. If you would like more information or the makings of a story for your site, I'd be happy to furnish what you need as background. In the meantime you might like to consult two websites where I've posted the names and other data about this: The 7th Bomb Group website — www.7thbg.org — has my May 31 message about the ANC ceremony in their Guestbook; the Pacific Wreck Database — www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/b-24/44-49607.html –briefly summarizes the 1945 B-24 air accident that claimed the lives of four comrades. (One of them was recovered and returned.)

The three memorialized airmen are 1st Lt. Nathan Margolies (Pilot), 1st Lt. Edwin E. Scranton (Navigator & my cousin), and S/Sgt. John E. Cunningham (Armorer-Gunner).

My best regards,
Walter N. Webb
Westwood, Massachusetts – June 2005


Pilot  First Lieutenant Nathan Margolies (MIA)
Navigator  First Lieutenant Edwin E. Scranton (MIA)
Gunner  Staff Sergeant John E. Cunningham (MIA)
Assistant Engineer Staff Sergeant Edward Reed (KIA)
MIA March 24, 1945
Location: Ganges Delta, Bangladesh

Mission History:

The 9th Bomb Squadron B-24L #28, piloted by Lt. Nathan Margolies, was part of a March 24, 1945, 7th Bomb Group mission to attack Bridge Q633 on the infamous prisoner-built Burma-Siam Railway. But as the Group was leaving India, Margolies's plane developed an engine oil leak followed by multiple engine malfunctions. Breaking formation, the ill-fated #28 reversed course over the treacherous Ganges Delta swampland. Even after salvoing the bomb payload, the extra gas tank, and other removable heavy equipment, the B-24 continued losing altitude.

The bailout command was issued. Six of the crew bailed out at less than 1,000 feet, and four others ditched with the plane in a delta river. Lieutenant Scranton's and Sergeant Cunningham's chutes never opened in time; the two men were never found. The pilot Margolies was trapped aboard the plane and sank with it; neither he nor the plane was ever recovered. Assistant engineer Staff Sergeant Edward Reed died after reaching the shore; his body was returned. The six survivors were rescued the next day.


Edwin E. Scranton
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-685742
9th Bomber Squadron, 7th Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Ohio
Died: 24-Mar-45
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart

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SCRANTON, EDWIN ELY
1LT   US ARMY AIR FORCES
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF BIRTH: 05/11/1917
DATE OF DEATH: 03/24/1945
BURIED AT: SECTION MF  SITE 46-D-13
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

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CUNNINGHAM, JOHN EDWARD

  • SSGT   US ARMY AIR FORCES
  • WORLD WAR II
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 07/06/1922
  • DATE OF DEATH: 03/24/1945
  • BURIED AT: SECTION MF  SITE 46-D-14
  • ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

Nathan Margolies
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-806295
9th Bomber Squadron, 7th Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: New York
Died: 24-Mar-45
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards:Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster

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dfcair-medphmedal

MARGOLIES, NATHAN

  • 1LT US ARMY AIR FORCES
  • WORLD WAR II
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 07/06/1915
  • DATE OF DEATH: 03/24/1945
  • BURIED AT: SECTION MF  SITE 46-D-12

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

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