Honor your hero with thoughts, memories, images and stories.
We never met you. But, after writing your Biography, and including the 13 other heroes who died with you over Japanese-held Kiska Island, Aleutians, AK, on 30 Dec 1942, we feel we've known all of your forever. Although long after your death, Pat remarried, she NEVER forgot you. She kept your posthumously awarded and engraved Silver Star and Purple Heart Medals until her death at age 92. Her daughters gave them to us. To the 14 crew members of the B-25 Mitchell, the OA-10 Catalina and the two P-38 Lightnings that were shot down that day, thank you for fighting to give us the freedoms we enjoy today. Anne Constantin Birge Jules Joseph Constantin 2
To all who read this tribute, World War II is the deadliest military conflict in world history. The statistics are staggering. In 1940, the world’s population was around 2.3 billion. By the end of WWII, between 70 and 80 million military personnel and civilians were killed, or up to 3.7% of our planet’s total population. Of those, 407,316 Americans were killed, 671,278 were wounded and 52,173 aviators were Killed in Action, while 25,844 died in training. The Wounded Warrior Project has a quote: 'The greatest casualty is being forgotten.' Please always remember those who fought for and/or gave their lives in honor of their country and for the love of their families. They ensured we’d enjoy the freedoms we have today. My uncle’s story follows. Anne Constantin Birge firstname.lastname@example.org In World War II, my uncle was a member of the US Army Air Corps, 11th Air Force, 77th Bombardment Squadron, 28th Composite Group (CG). He was also the pilot of a North American Aviation B-25 'Mitchell' bomber (SN 41-29747, built in Kansas City, KS) in WWII. On 30 Dec 1942, he and his crew of five were shot down near Japanese-held Kiska Island, the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. There were a variety of US Army Air Corps Army Air Forces reports which said the Mitchell was seen ditching five to eight miles or eight to 15 miles from Kiska toward Adak Island, where the Army and Navy had bases. A US Army Air Forces OA-10 'Catalina' patrol bomber/ rescue aircraft (one of the 24 total aircraft on this mission), with six crew members, attempted to rescue the B-25, crew (possibly SN 43-3264 or SN 43-3268). One report states the Catalina (which the Navy ‘gave’ to the Army) may have picked up the bomber crew and was then possibly strafed by a Japanese 'Zero.' Neither US aircraft returned to base on Adak. Two P-38 'Lightning' fighters also went down during that same bombing mission (unknown SNs). Fourteen men in four aircraft left behind a legacy of tears that extend to today. ‘The 14’ men gladly left behind school, careers, friends, lovers, spouses, children, parents - to fight for America and her Allies. My paternal uncle’s name is Jules Joseph 'Connie' Constantin, Jr. He'd just turned 22 on 7 Sep 1942. He and his crew died on possibly their third completed bombing mission to Kiska. He left behind his childhood sweetheart and widow of only 11-months (no children). We knew little about Jules as Daddy couldn't talk about his beloved older brother without becoming emotional. My twin brother was named in his honor. He in turned named his son in Jules' honor. I researched every hero who died that day and whom rest together at the bottom of the frigid waters of the northern Pacific Ocean. When I started researching Jules, I knew nothing about him, not even his date of birth. I knew even less about the others. When I found all their information, I talked with descendants of ALL but one of the families. I also wrote a memorial and added pictures, etc for each one of 'The 14' on Fold3.com. I asked the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor to add their names to their database. The Mitchell and her crew’s names are now listed on joebaugher.com. Although they were all declared Killed in Action or Finding of Death (P-38 pilots) their names are on the Missing in Action cenotaphs in Alaska and Hawai'i. 'The 14' are also listed on the Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) website. The DPAA is tasked with finding, recovering, identifying and returning US military service personnel, from all wars, to their families. If the reader is a family member or knows of another family member of a POW / MIA, please contact the DPAA for information on how to submit your DNA should your family member have been or might be recovered. 'The Battle of the Aleutians' is called 'The Forgotten War' because few know about it. What even fewer realize is, that 15-month long Campaign, 2nd in length to the Battle of the Atlantic, resulted in casualties second only to Pearl Harbor. I understand the area where the Mitchell, Catalina and the two Lightnings went down, is a HUGE area. It can have awful weather - in any season. Seas and currents can be horrific - in any season. But, 'The 14' who died that day (79-years ago), lived and flew in that exact same weather - for our freedom to be able to do a lot of things we enjoy today. 'The 14' are: B-25 Mitchell crew Jules Joseph 'Connie' Constantin Jr Pilot age 22 Thomas 'Tommy' Pfeiler Co-pilot age 22 Edward Antoni Supinski Bombardier age 23 Samuel Peter 'Sam' Couris Navigator age 23 Henry Shelia 'Hank' Jones, Jr Gunner age 24 Andrew Arlie 'Andy' Malchau Radio Operator age 22 OA-10 Catalina Crew Theodore Thomas 'Ted' Vasatka Pilot age 23 Baxter Duncan Thornton Co-pilot age 21 Howard Delos Friestead Aerial Mechanic age 21 Albert Katz Aerial Mechanic age 20 Harold Albert Forbes Radio Operator age 24 Lew Goldstein Armorer / Gunner age 27 P-38 Lightning Pilots Arthur Lee 'Artie' Kayser age 25 John Albert Leighton Jr age 25