Timothy N. Tarpey – Second Lieutenant, United States Army Air Forces

Timothy N. Tarpey
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
858th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: May 19, 1944
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

When young Enrico Schwartz, a businessman originally from the old East Germany, was asked in the mid 1990s by an American colleague to place a wreath in the Netherlands American Cemetery (Margraten) at its Wall of the Missing, he be came intrigued at the notion of an air crew shot down over land but somehow never found. His curiosity and good spiritual motivation, along with an amazing amount of persistence and luck, allowed stunning closure, 58 years later, for the families of Crew #802of the 858th BS of the ill-fated original 492nd Bomb Group.

Enrico and his partner Swetlana Reimer founded the Missing Allied Air Crew Research Team, and to date, through diligence and adversity, have discovered the remains of two different crews from the 492nd. The positively identified remains of the Lloyd Herbert crew were laid to rest in two shared caskets on November 18, 2002, at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors, following a service in the Old Post Chapel of adjoining US Army Fort Myer. (Remains of the other crew, that of Lieutenat Dave McMurray, are in the U.S. Army Mortuary Affairs? identification process, and will likely have similar ceremonial closure in the next year or so.  Also of the 858th, they went down on the July 7, 1944, in the vicinity of Westeregeln, Germany.)

All of the families of the Herbert crew  were represented at the funeral home visitation (Sunday,  November 17th), the funeral and the burial. While some of the family survivors have been in contact in the recent years since the initial discovery of the remains, most of the 100 relatives who gathered had never heard of the other families, none had met. The Army, to which branch of service all of these heroes belonged when the were KIA on May 19th, 1944, provided great logistical, spiritual and cer emonial support, while a handful of interested friends in the 492nd Bomb Group Association, the 2nd Air Division Association, and MAACRT were resources for quiet support and historical information at this unusual and very emotionally laden reunion. Most of the family members were unaware that active associations had sprung up among surviving veterans of the lethal air war over Europe some 60 years ago, and few knew that their fallen relatives were in the vanguard of the singularly horrific losses of the group that had the highest sustained three month loss record for the Eighth. The Army sponsored transportation to Washington for three from each family and accommodated them at a hotel in Arlington, which became the informal meeting ground starting on the afternoon of Saturday the 16th. No one knew what to expect under the circumstances, but a palpable sense of family arose over the weekend, warm in proportion to the artifice of the historical fact that united them, deep in proportion to the the sacrifice they endured.

On Sunday afternoon, 492nd BG Association leader Bill Beasley headed an informal ceremony to bring the relatives together and present MAACRT with a memento of appreciation. The plaque beneath the pewter B-24 bore this Old Testament passage (rendered in German for Enrico and Swetlana, and symbolic of healing peace): ?…and the young men shall utterly fall:  but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.? [Isaiah 40, v. 30-31]

At the visitation on Sunday evening, Kathy Nursall Jensen spoke extemporaneously about her very real relationship with the father she never knew. A young master sergeant humbly welcomed the families with the simple observation,
from his experience in these matters, that 58 years would disappear in a heartbeat at graveside the next day. The collected mourners warmly acknowledged the woman from Mortuary Affairs who had shepherded the DNA identification process, and Enrico and Swetlana.

The funeral and horse-drawn caisson through the cemetery, on a glorious crisp fall day, indeed brought the older generation back, and made time stand still for the rest.  All 4 siblings of one of the gunners were present, and one of the sisters remembered receiving ‘the telegram' at age 16 as if it had been yesterday.  One could not look at the Honor Guard and Marching Band personnel and not think of their youth, their availability to make the supreme sacrifice today, or imagine, as we heard three volleys of seven shots, that they were  as  keenly  conscious  of  the  felt
presence of pilot Lloyd Herbert, co-pilot William Covington, bombardier Harold  Bachman,  navigator Timothy Tarpey, engineer Joseph Powell, radio operator  Lawrence  Nursall, and gunners Marshal Johnson, Vincent Kalata, and Louis Brooks.

VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 10/23/1943 – 05/19/1944
DATE OF BIRTH: 07/16/1919
DATE OF DEATH: 05/19/1944



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