MIA Recoveries

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

From: M. Wayne Lowery, USN, Ret.
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Subject: Many Thanks

Dear Mr. Kuhles,

I am the Nephew of PFC Clyde L. Lowery who was lost, in a C-87 Tail No. 43-30556, on a flight from Tespur, India to Kunming, China on 14 June 1944. He was the Radio Operator, along with Pilot 1stLt. John A. Lofland, Co-Pilot 2ndLt. Harry D. Clinton Jr., and S/Sgt Joseph P. Quattrocchi. No remains of the aircraft or Crew has ever been found.

The main reason I am writing you is to thank you and your crews that help you on your expeditions to search for lost Aircraft and Crews. I have always heard from others that Aircraft lost over the "Hump" will never be found and here you are locating some. There are only two sisters left from Clyde's sisters and brothers. I have been trying to find as much information that I can on Clyde's area of operation to give to them. I was stationed in the Phillipines in the 1970's so I had the privilege to go to Manila and see the National Cemetary where his name is transcribed.as Missing in Action.

Our family has a reunion every year so I will give them information on your expeditions and will take up donations from them to send to you. May God watch over you and your Crews on your expeditions Overseas.

M. Wayne Lowery
Jacksonville, Ohio

From: Worley, Kathy
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2010
Subject: C-109 White Angel

C-109 White Angel
C-109 White Angel

Clayton, I came across your site while trying to identify the type of aircraft in some photos of my father’s from the CBI theater. On your historical background page you have a photo of C-109 White Angel. My father has a pic of this plane taken at a different time. I have attached the photo. I have the file name as B-24 White Angel but because of your photo I now know that is wrong! I scanned at 600 dpi and can even read the crew list on the side. Instead of “Halma” it is Karma Jean. The crew is listed as:

  • Whittincham
  • Rinelli
  • Erickson
  • Willschen
  • Moring
  • Vallario
  • Z(B or E)ytnicwski

This photo was most likely taken in India because my father never made it to China. At different times he was at Chabua, Dibrughar, Dudkhundi and Shamshernagar. My father, R. Paul Worley, was an airborne radar technician with the 1104th signal company. It is amazing work you are doing. I plan on showing my now 89 year old father your web site when I go home for Christmas.

Hope you enjoy the photo.

Kathy Worley
Tallahassee, FL

From: Arthur Chan
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Subject: ~ 1st Lt. Harry Chan: C-47B 43-78308 ~

Hello Mr. Kuhles,

My name is Arthur Chan, and I am a nephew of 1st Lt. Harry Chan whom was lost on C-47B 43-48308, the wreckage of which you discovered in India near Bangladesh. I was referred to you by Gary Zaetz.

I've seen the footage you have of your hike to find both the wreckage of the plane as well as the ginger field in which the bodies were buried - it was very touching both for several of my cousins and for me to see... thank you so much for the work that you do.

Yesterday, I visited with two of my aunts, both in their 90's now and Harry's sisters. I was able to borrow some photographs of Harry and am in the process of scanning them. Actually, I've only scanned one so far, and it is his military photo (Gary has informed me that you would add it to your site) - at what resolution would you prefer it sent to you? For myself, I scanned it full size (8x10) at a fairly high resolution but I know that for a website, it doesn't need to be that high. Also, one of my uncles (Harry's closest in age brother) has already spoken with the Army Casualty Office to make sure that Harry's name is corrected from 'Henry' which many records have erroneously. Could you make sure to correct his name in your records as well, including on your site? His number is
O-877552, and as an aside, we found out from the report we got at the recent Family Update Meeting held in Burlingame, CA last month that he was not a member of the AGRS, but simply a passenger traveling to his next assignment in Calcutta (he was a member of the 114th Army Airways Communications Service (AACS) Squadron).

Thank you!
Arthur Chan
Concord, CA

From: narendra divekar
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Sunday, November 28, 2010
Subject: kudos

Mr Clayton Kuhles,

I am a helicopter pilot presently operating in the Arunachal Pradesh area of India. I came across your fantastic work of helping to get those great men who fought in the world war their final closure in life. Being an ex military type with over 20 years of service myself, I too have lost dear friends in combat and can understand the relief you can bring to people who lost their loved ones.

If there is any small way that I can help you with your efforts in this sector, I will consider it my previlege to be of assistance. I shall be here for about 2 years or so.

Good luck in your mission and god speed

Lt Col (retd) Narendra Divekar, SM

From: pieterdprall
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2010
Subject: Over the hump in C-46's

Hello there,

I have no salient information; but I came across your website and thought I'd compliment you on your efforts. My uncle Ted (Theodore Francis Prall) was a group navigator on flights shuttling groups C-46 aircraft over the hump during WWII. He died about 12 years ago. He acted as the lone navigator for groups of aircraft flying the dangerous route together. He related one story to me and it stick in my mind as it did in his. He was basically responsible for guiding groups of aircraft safely over the mountains. On one occasion the flight lost contact with one of the member aircraft of the group in heavy clouds and this lost plane was never heard from again. He told me that he thought of those guys every day. So I in essence am writing to thank you for your efforts as yours is a commendable service. I wish he were still alive to contact you himself.

Pieter Prall

From: Sargeant
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Subject: Re: Thanks

Dear Clayton,

Many thanks for the packet of information about my brother's plane crash. All these years I suppose there has been a kernel of hope that he might still be alive. Now there is a finality and I can finally grieve properly. Thank you for all the work you do to bring closure to peoples' lives.

Audrey Sargeant

From: Joseph Gilbert
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2010
Subject: Poem written circa 1945 by Staff Sgt. Joseph Dunaway's mother

Dear Sir,

Please find attached a poem written by my Uncle Joe's mother I think around 1945 as she talks in it about one of her boys coming home (from the navy). The pain and anquish she was feeling is evident. I know from memory of her talking about the event that she still felt it when she passed away. The family has never given up hope of one day bringing "Joe" back for burial with his parents. Thank you for the work you do and the hope you keep alive.

Sincerely yours,
Joseph H. Gilbert

Click here to open and read the poem.

From: Joseph Gilbert
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010
Subject: MIA Namesake "Uncle Joe"

Dear Sir,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. In one email you have given me more information and more hope of eventually being able to have some remains or something to bring back to the states (maybe) then I have had in 40 years. I had tried the department of defense almost 40 years ago and got no meaningful response and not as much information as you did. Basically a "sorry we know nothing" letter. My grandmother (maternal) Pearl (Browning) Dunaway and my grandfather (Richard Dunaway) and my mom (Clara Lee Dunaway Gilbert) went to their graves still mourning the loss of Uncle Joe. He still has some brothers (Leo Dunaway (navy WWII, Donald Dunaway (korea), Richard Dunaway jr (retired teacher) and one sister (Joyce (dunaway) Cubine ) living. He has brother (Warren, U.S. navy WWII) deceased. If you give me a snail mail address I will mail you a copy of the poem his mother wrote about him. It was recently published as a commemorative at the church he attended faithfully as a young man. Or if you prefer I can re-write it on word and email it to you. Rest assured that I will share the information you sent with his brothers and sister and with my children. He lives on in our memory yet. I bear his name as does my oldest daughter Jodi Sue (U.S. Air Force, Iraq 1) and my grandson Aaron Joseph. The desire to have some remains even if just bones and teeth or dog tags to bring home and honor and bring closure to the oldsters and family is still strong. As far as I know he was never offically given a burial service or a memorial. It is possible he was but if so that knowledge was never passed on to me by his immediate family. Now that I have some tangible addresses you may rest assured I will pursue it doggedly. His nation he died in service of may have forgotten him but his family has not. Once again thank you so very much and so very deeply. I will be contacting you again hopefully with more information. Rest assured we watch the news and hope springs up every time a missing plane is found in that part of the world.

Sincerely and thankfully yours,
Joseph H. Gilbert
Educator and Kentucky Highly Skilled Educator/Distinquished Educator

From: Kathleen Clegg Gordon
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: July 2, 2010

Dear Mr. Kuhles,

I am pleased to be able to forward to you donations toward your recovery work from the Huffman cousins of my generation as well as from Gay Huffman, the widow of Phil's younger brother Bob, and Mark, a first cousin once-removed who's the oldest son of our current Huffman "patriarch," Steve. Steve is about 4
years older than I and would have been about 3-4 years old in 1943.

We were all so relieved to hear of your discovery of the Pregnant Swan and were chagrined that our parents had not lived long enough to know of it. It was close-my mother, Jeannette Huffman Clegg, the oldest of the five siblings, died at 95 in January '08, just months before you found the plane. Bob, the youngest, had died the year before; the note from his son Phil details how his father "never got over" the loss of Phil, and "might have known some peace" before he died had it only happened a year or two earlier.

I cannot explain the mystery of why Bob's younger son Jim, who was the one notified by your colleague, somehow didn't think to notify the rest of us; perhaps he didn't know we'd be interested. It will probably remain a mystery. Fortunately my daughter got things going again and we were able to contact you. And you
have cleared up the really big important mystery, and we are all so very grateful.

Please accept these tokens of our appreciation for your recovery efforts with our deep gratitude. The consensus among us at this point is that we would probably not seek to have Phil's remains recovered and repatriated. A message from Steve to the rest of us, a copy of which I am enclosing, tells us that there is a memorial in Manila which includes Phil's name.

Again, thank you for your dedicated mission which is bringing peace to so many families.

Warmest regards,
Kathleen 'Phillips" Clegg Gordon

From: Gay Huffman
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: May 28, 2010

Dear Mr. Kuhles,

I am using some paper and an envelope used after my late husband's death in April, 2007. I am the widow of Robert Huffman (Bob), Phil Huffman's youngest brother.

Phil was killed quite a while before I joined the family in 1950, so I never met him. But he was always in Bob's thoughts, and his picture in uniform, in our living room.

Thank you for the valuable and difficult work you have been doing all these years.

Gay Huffman

From: Phil Huffman
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: May 26, 2010

Dear Mr. Kuhles,

Thank you for your hard work locating lost servicement and in particular for locating The Pregnant Swan.

My father always looked up to his older brother Phil and never got over the loss. Unfortunately, my father passed away before you located Phil's plane. As my father's first-born son, I am named after my Uncle.

I wish you all the best in your continuing search for lost airmen. Thank you for contacting our family with the news of the location of my Uncle's plane.

Warmest Regards,

From: Stephen Huffman
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: May 7, 2010

Dear Mr. Kuhles:

I am Stephen Phillips Huffinan, the nephew of Phillips Gardner Huffinan, the Army Air Corps flyer whose crashed bomber you found in India.

I was born in 1939, so although I am sure my Uncle Phil sawme as a small boy, I do not remember him. Of course I remember my relatives talking about him throughout my childhood. Later, through good luck, I was able to make a small contribution to his memory.

As a boy I remember my grandmother, Mary Reynolds Huffman, showing me a grainy photograph of a shrine somewhere in China dedicated to US flyers. She told me she knew of no other memorial to her son Phil.

In the summer of 1962, right after my college graduation, I took a bike trip through Europe with a classmate. My senior year roommate was Michael W. Totten, George Patton's grandson. He told me the general was buried in Luxembourg, so I visited the American cemetery there. I found Patton's cross among thousands of others. I noted that the names of service members whose bodies had not been recovered were inscribed on big stone tablets, about 15 feet high, arrayed in a semicircle.

I joined the Navy in 1963, and by the fall of 1964 I was in Manila on a short liberty with some shipmates. Our driver took us to the American cemetery located in a beautiful suburb. Amazingly, except for the tropical foliage, it looked very much like the one I'd seen in Luxembourg. I knew the layout, so I immediately went to the tablets, and sure -enough, there was Uncle Phil's name. I had a movie camera with me and photographed the cemetery, and the tablet, zooming in on Phil's name.

I got the film developed and sent it right to my grandmother, who saw the official memorial to her son before she died.

It still gives me the shivers to think about it. No Memorial Day passes without a prayer for Uncle Phil.

You have done a great service to many families of servicemen who died in the war, the Huffmans included. You've done this arduous and expensive work out of the goodness of your heart, and we thank you. So here is a gift to help defray the cost of your trips.

Thanks too for communicating with my son, Mark Huffman in recent years. He's taken a real interest in his great uncle.

Stephen P. Huffman

From: Lisa Huffman Loyd
To: Clayton Kuhles

Thank you so much for your work in finding my uncle's plane, The Pregnant Swan. It is a wonderful thing to know where he rests - it brings us peace.

Please accept the enclosed token of our appreciation. May you be successful in helping yet another family.

Lisa Huffman Loyd

From: Ron Clyborne
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2010
Subject: Site of C-47B #43-48308 in Birmani Kami/Tripura

Greetings and Salutations!

My wife, Michelle and I have just returned from a “pilgrimage” in Burma to honor my father a USAAC bombardier on a B-24 “Bugs Bunny” in Dec 1943. His plane was shot down, parachuted out Japanese Zero shot at him…… hit the parachute which caught fire and caused a hard landing and severely injured his leg and he subsequently died of those injuries due to infection and gangrene in POW camp in Bassein, Burma .

My fathers’ remains were found after the war and were listed on the manifest (2ndLt. Clarence C. Clyborne) of remains placed on the subject plane that you recently found in Nov. 2009 and was outlined in an article written by Steve Friess in March of this year. I just now have learned of your gallant quest and have reviewed your video and all info relating to subject on your website.

THANK YOU! You have provided me personally with closure and my children and grandchildren with the knowledge of their grandfather’s and great grandfathers’ remains’ exact location and the fact that the gravesite has been maintained as well as an annual memorial service at the site. TRULY AMAZING!!!!! AND YOU ARE A TRULY SPECIAL PERSON!!!!

I would like to make direct contact with you. I will be in the Scottsdale area in April from 9 -15 with the 13th or 14th being two ideal days and if you are available I would like to drive up to Prescott My phone # is 425-771-1303.

I very much look forward to talking to you and making a donation to support your passion and commitment.

Again many thanks for all.

Warm regards
Ron Clyborne

From: Connie Carter
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Saturday, March 6, 2010
Subject: Articles

Dear Mr Kuhles,

I have just read some articles concerning your mission to locate missing aircraft/soldiers from previous wars. I was deeply touched by your passion and love for so many of the unknown. Your dedication and selflessness to such a worthy cause will bring to you many blessings, I am certain of it.

I am not in a position to help you financially, but rest assured you will be added to the list of names I keep in my Bible and on my prayer list.

God richly bless you sir for what you do.

Connie Carter

From: Sue Krall
To: Clayton Kuhles
Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 7:04 PM
Subject: Video on discovery of C-47B #43-48308

Hi Clayton,

I just got done watching the video and crying. I wish you could feel what I feel right now. If you ever ask yourself sometimes why you do this I can answer that for you. It is for moments like this when a family member who has searched for so long for answers, and in our case it has gone down 3 generations searching. Leslie, my Daughter, another cousin and I have been sleep deprived many a night because we couldn't get off the computer, because we found a crumb of info. We have binders full of info and postings on every website that would allow us to post something. Our website was set up to get info, connect with other family members and to honor Uncle John. Leslie is sending out a mass email to family tomorrow morning. Our family covers 13 states. I don't know if Leslie gave you the website but it is www.johnckelley@wordpress.com. We can never ever thank you enough but hope when we bring him home that you will be standing with us when they bring them off the plane. Again Clayton, thank you from the bottom of my heart and that of all the Kelleys. His only living sister is going to be told in the next couple of days. She is 90 years old. I'm sure that just gave you a chill. Stay in touch.

Sue Krall

From: Brandon Abel
To: Clayton Kuhles
Monday, January 11, 2010 9:35 PM
Subject: CNAC

Mr. Kuhles -

Good evening. I saw your name and website while visiting the CNAC website. My great uncle, Orin Welch, died while flying the hump in 1943. I am currently a test pilot in the Air Force, and stories of him were one of the main reasons I am flying today. I don't beleive you have visited the site before. His information is as follows:

Orin Welch, 03/13/43, C-53, #49. Crew of 3 killed, Co-pilot: M.P. Hwang, Radio Operator: S.W. Hwang, both Chinese. They took off from Kunming for Dinjan. Orin reported his position over Ft. Hertz Valley. It is presumed he was slightly south of the direct course. An extremely turbulent storm was reported over the Patkai Range, but the wreckage was never found. It was assumed that the 110-pound tin bars, he was carrying broke loose and cut his control cables in going down through the fuselage. Two other captains, in the same storm, at the same time had the tin bars come loose. George Huang's tin bars went through the ceiling instead of the floor as he was flying a C-47.

Source: Peter Goutiere, in the Himalayan Rouge.

Thank you for your work and effort finding these crash sites. It means a lot to a lot of people. My grandmother, Orin's little sister, always heard rumors that he had survived the crash and was seen later in life. However, it sounds like that would be extremely difficult due to the nature of the crash. I would love it if you kept this aircraft in mind during your next expidition. On another note, do you have a good relationship with the DoD in terms of follow up to the sites? I hope so. Lastly, have you had individuals accompany you on these expeditions, especially going to sites with relatives, etc? Thanks again for your work.

Brandon Abel

Click to View More Letters and Correspondence (Dated 2008 - 2009) >>

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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