MIA Recoveries

Below are some recent letters that I have received regarding my MIA recovery expeditions:

From: V. Holman
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Subject: James Mohn

Mr. Kuhles: 

Last month you sent me a packet of information regarding my uncle, James Mohn, who was lost in WW II (my middle name is James—after him).  I am trying to locate an appropriate picture of him to send on to you.  Thank you so much for your efforts in bringing closure to the families of the missing.

I have copied the information you sent me and forwarded it to my 90 year old aunt in Fairbanks, Alaska.  James was her younger brother, and she has wanted to obtain information about James for many years.   At one point she gave a DNA sample to the Defense Department, I believe.  If you would like to reach her, her name is (not shown for privacy):

My aunt is quite active and intellectually sharp.  She would love to learn about her brother.

Yours truly,
Virgil J. Holman

From: J. Whitney
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Subject: "Hump Pilot"

Dear Mr. Kuhles,

I know my sister has already contacted you to thank you for the blessing you are giving to all the families who have lost loved ones who flew “The Hump” during WWII.  My father, Joseph Richard Meye/pilot C-47, 2nd Lieutenant, was one of the fortunate ones who got to come home to his family but my mother and his 2 daughters never knew until now what a dangerous mission he flew while serving.  Dad never talked about his service but in the last several years he has wept openly when watching documentaries about those who served and those who never returned home.  We are so proud of him and honor what he did for our country and we feel the same way about you and what you are doing.  Dad is struggling now with colon cancer but still a very strong, passionate man with so much pride.  He loves his country and honors all who served before, with and after him.  When I saw your story on the website my heart just jumped out with joy because he has felt they were in the “lost war” and sometimes forgotten.  Thank you so very much sir for all you are doing and continue to do.  It means the world to us. 

God Bless You,
Jo Whitney, daughter.

From: Jon Pearce
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Subject: John L Porter

I wanted to thank you for the information you sent to my mother concerning her much loved cousin, John Lawrence Porter. Although 89 and suffering from Alzheimer's,  her memories of her cousin are still in tact as are her memories of his painful loss. She understood at once the significance of your discovery.

Indeed, his disappearance was a family obsession for three generations. Anyone who came near the story seemed to get sucked into the obsession. There were articles in magazine, posthumous medals, even unpublished books about him. His story was the backdrop of my childhood. With all of the older generations now gone, it is bitter-sweet that your letter should have fallen into my lap.

Ten years ago I found myself in Burma and half entertained the thought of searching for his downed plane, but of course I had no idea where to begin. I am impressed by and maybe envious of your ability to reach such remote places (I typed the coordinates into Google maps and was taken right there.)

I have attached two photos of John Lawrence taken in 1943. Use them as you wish.

Your letter mentioned several artifacts that your recovered that might have belonged to John. My family would appreciate it if you could mail them to us. Just let me know the cost of postage and I can mail it to you.

Much thanks,
Jon Hawley Pearce

From: Judi Spain Hay
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Subject: 2nd Lt. James F. Spain

Dear Clayton,

Thank you for the information on my father. It was a great surprise to receive it. Thank you for all you do for the survivors & families. I do have a couple of pictures I'll get copied and send to you. I'll be in the east valley next week and will get the photos for you then.

Yes, if you have any artifacts pertaining to my father I would love to receive them.

I don't know how you found me but again thank you.

I have a living brother, James F. Spain, in Cody, Wy. I am going to copy the letter and information you sent me, so I can send to him as well.

I have been on your web site and it is wonderful.

I am remarried, my name is: Judi Hay. Same address.

I don't know how you found me but again thank you.


Letter from Helen ColeFrom: Helen Cole
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: January 07, 2012

Dear Mr. Kuhles,

My family and I feel such gratitude for what you have done in the search for our cousin Jim Browne's plane. The words "thank you" seem so inadequate when we think of hte efforts, energy, and funds you have surrendered in all those trips to China, the struggle to climb in such a rough terrain and your determination to keep going.

As I have told Bob Willett, you have turned a long standing family sorrow into an answered prayer, and for that words are not enough.

This letter was handwritten by Ms. Cole. Click here or on image at right to read complete letter.

From: Robert L. Willett
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2011

Dear Clayton:

The job that you did in the search for, and location of, my cousin Jim Browne’s C-47 was miraculous. Jim flew for China National Aviation Corporation during WWII on the Chinese lifeline now called the “Hump.” His plane was listed as missing on November 17, 1942 and has been undiscovered since then.

You were able to assemble the various isolated facts concerning the disappearance until you plotted a site and place where you were confident the plane went down. Even after you located the site at 13,400 feet on the side of Cang Shan mountain and found no evidence of wreckage you persevered. After leaving the area you returned with new equipment to discover bits of wreckage and signs of significant metal buried under a landslide. Again a miracle occurred when you found a piece of wreckage with the numbers “4681” stamped in the metal. That was the proof that the wreckage was really CNAC #60.

It is an incredible conclusion to our conversations of 6 years ago. Even then you said, “I can find your plane.”

And you did.

With deepest gratitude,

Robert L. Willett

From: Pomphrey, Thomas L.
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Subject: MACR #11983 Burma WWII

Hello Clayton,

Your work is impressive to say the least; I’m sure it must be very rewarding to know you’ve brought closure to so many families. Keep up the great work!

I’ve been trying to help my family learn more about what happened to my uncle, John W. Pomphrey who was a Radio Gunner on a B-25 that crashed in Burma during WWII. He has 3 surviving siblings, my uncle and 2 aunts. He was ordered to parachute from the plane by the pilot along with the Armorer Gunner Louis J. Corradino. The area that he jumped into was very densely populated with trees which I’m sure made it difficult to land. The rest of the crew bailed out a couple of minutes later. It is reported that 3 of the crew members survived but my uncle and Mr. Corradino we never located. The plane was located and no bodies or parachutes were found.

Any information you could offer would be greatly appreciated. I suspect there were many B-25’s that crashed in the Burma area during this campaign.

Best regards,
Tom Pomphrey

From: Aero
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2011
Subject: C-47A #43-15398


Russel A. Brown was my Uncle.  He was married to my Mother's Sister Leona. Leona is gone but there are 3 sisters and a brother surviving.

For many years they have searched for any information about Russel, even attended group get togethers with former Hump pilots and crews.

We are all so glad to have found this information about your discovery of the crash site..

I notified the Ladies this morning.

Thank you so much!!

Please reply to me if you get this. Email Addresses do change a lot!

William Karr

From: Bill Turner
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Subject: Lt. Louis E. Turner

To whom it may concern:

Lt. Turner was my paternal uncle, who I never met.  He was lost flying the Hump around Christmas of 1943n or early in 1944.  I have a letter from General Stillwell notifying my grandmother of her son being missing in action.  However, I do not have any identifying information as to what he was flying, only that he was en route from India to China.  He was a navigator.  If there is any information available that can be traced to his name I would appreciate it.  If there is any further information needed I will search family records to find it. 

Thank you,
William G. Turner

From: Audrene Sherwood
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: July 31, 2011

Letter from Audrene SherwoodDear Clayton,

I hope this donation will help in your pending search for the missing CNAC aircraft. This I send in memory of Bob who passed away in January.

Bob always loved to tell of his memories flying the "Hump" for CNAC.

Audrene Sherwood

This letter was handwritten by Ms. Sherwood. Click here or on image at right to read complete letter.

Letter from Anna EtheringtonFrom: Anna Etherington
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: July 26, 2011

My dear Mr. Kuhles,

Many thanks for your persverance in locating and examining the crash sites of World War II aircraft lost in the China-Burma-Indian Theater. My brother, T. Sgt. 2d. C. Jones was the Flight Engineer on a C-87 serial #41-23791 lost in India on April 9, 1943. You located the crash site in 2006. We are grateful to you for finding it.

Mr. John Trowbridge, Kentucky National Guard Comman Historian, visited with us July 14, 2011, and shared information you had provided. All these years we had wondered what happened to these brave men. It is a comfort to now know where they are.

Anna Jones Etherington

This letter was handwritten by Ms. Etherington. Click here or on image at right to read complete letter.

From: Moya Morland
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2011
Subject: Donation to MIA

Clayton, thank you for all you do to help bring peace and closure to so many families. Looking at some of your photos on MIA recoveries site I can see these expeditions are no cake walk! My husband and I shall be sending a donation next week end (pay day) . I hope you start to get some more help coming in too!

You and your family have a great 4th Clayton!  GOD BLESS THE USA!   Pete and Moya Morland.  ( Proud Air Force Parents!)

From: Brent Kile
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2011
Subject: January 4, 2011 plane B-24J 42-73242

Dear Mr. Kuhles,

My name is Brent Kile. My grandfathers name is John Gochnauer. His brothers name is Toney W. Gochnauer. I believe the plane you found is Toney's plane the "China Clipper". I have little information on Toney besides a few pictures and some other info I have found on the internet. I have found a website that has a interesting story about the crew and an unlikely crew mate. The website is www.combatcamera/newsletters/captions_may08_final.pdf. If you have anymore info you are able to share my family would greatly appriciate it. You may contact me by E-mail or you can call me at (number omitted for privacy). Thank you so much for what you do! Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing from you either way.

Brent Kile

From: Li
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2011
Subject: Found long-lost relative

Hello Mr. Kuhles

I have recently been contacted by Mr. Gary Zaetz who let me and my family know of your finding my great uncle, Charles Howard Mortimer. He was a passenger on the B24J #42-73242 flight. We have read with great interest your report and poured over the pictures. You answered a 60-year old question on what happened to Uncle Howard as he was known. While your report shows him as Charles P. Mortimer, Mr. Zaetz and I have verified details on his education which leads us to believe this really is Charles H. Mortimer.

I am writing to ask what you recommend our family do to verify any remains. My mother is the last of the family still alive. Uncle Howard's sole brother, my mother's father, died years ago, as did her brother and mother. If I understand, DoD will undertake a recovery mission and that we can ask for a DNA test. However, what does our family need to do to let DoD know we exist? I have worked as a Federal civilian employee with DoD for 32 years; I will retire in December.

I would be grateful for any advice you have. And I'd like to thank you for what you do. While there is a sad aspect to the loss of lives, this has been an exciting couple of weeks for my family--and an emotional roller coaster for my mom. It would be fantastic to be able to put Uncle Howard to rest in CONUS if possible.

Thank you very much
LiAnne Lammert

From: Mark Karns
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Sunday, May 29, 2011
Subject: Haley's Comet

Good Sunday Clayton,

Is it true, have you in fact located my uncles plane, the Haley's Comet?

If so how long did you get to survey the wreckage?  Were there any artifacts discovered.

You do such an amazing job and service for us families who have lost loved ones.

God Bless You,
Mark Karns

From: Joe Brizzi
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Monday, May 16,2011
Subject: MIA Report


I found the report that you posted on the internet about the MIA archeological site that you participated in back in January of this year. The reason that I have an interest in that report is because my mother lost her brother on that flight. His name was Joseph P. Kurta.

My mother will be 81 years old this year and she has been searching for information about her brother for many years. She is quite happy now that she has the knowledge of his remains and wanted me to pass along her many thanks for what you have done.

She wanted me to ask about any remains that were found. Specifically, any bones and belongings that were found and whether or not if they could be traced to specific persons. I told her that it was doubtful after all of the time that has past but was willing to ask. She also asked if any dogtags were found.

Any and all information that you could provide would be most beneficial to her and the family. I am in possession of the flag that was given to the family following his passing.

Again, thank you for all that you have done and any further information that you could provide.

Joe Brizzi
Gainesville FL

From: Kathleen Dennison
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Friday, April 29, 2011

Dear Clayton,

My husband and I attended the funeral of Marvyn Sims last Friday and I spoke with you for a minute (the white-haired lady in a maroon jacket.)

We are very impressed with the work you are doing to recover the planes and hope this small donation will help. I've also sent the article from the Press Democrat. You have probably seen it, but, just in case you hadn't, I'm sending it along.

Keep up your work and know that you are bringing peace and closure to families of the soldiers you can identify. I checked on the internet about that mission of flying over the Himalayas and had no idea so many people were lost.

My father was in the Navy for thirty years and in the Pacific during WWII so I have a place in my heart for all military. Our oldest son is a chief diver in the Navy so we are still connected.

Kathleen Dennison

From: Patty Rio
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2011
Subject: Pfc .Mervyn E. Simms

Dear Mr. Kuhles, As my family ready's to attend Uncle Mervyns funeral on April 22 in his home town of Petaluma, I want to take this opportunity to thank you. Your contact with my mother july,6 2009 was such a surprise. Although my mother passed last year after a short illness, she would have wanted me to tell you how grateful she was, and how important she thought your work is, not just for her brother, but for all the boys you bring home.  With great respect, Patty Rio.. Daughter of Virginia Rippe Burch.......Mervyn will be put to rest in the same cemetery as his mother, father, uncles and sister. Thank You Again

Click to View More Letters and Correspondence (Dated 2010) >>

Important Notice: These MIA recovery expeditions and this website have been almost entirely self-funded by Clayton Kuhles.  No funding is received from the US government.  If you believe this is a worthwhile humanitarian project that needs to be pursued, then please visit the Funding page on this website to see how easy it is to support this project in a meaningful manner.  MIA Recoveries, Inc is a tax-exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Donations to MIA Recoveries, Inc are deductible under section 170 of the Code.  Thank you!


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