In the midst of our family’s recent sad event, we found closure on yet another family tragedy that came from World War II.
As I noted in my 2011 Fourth of July piece:
This year, however, I’ve picked something a little closer to home: the aviation service during World War II of my uncle, Don Gaston Shofner (right), and of his untimely death in service even before he got a chance for his “baptism of fire” in combat. You can read about this (with photographs) here.
His body came to the surface; it was his mother’s persistence with the Army Air Corps that made it possible to find it. But the plane was never found…until now.
Above is a group shot of the 88th Squadron. #18 is my uncle. #9 (just in front of the door) is Owen Allred, who went on to distinguish himself in the Burma theatre during World War II. But he in turn was killed when his plane crashed into Long Island Sound in 1947.
Robert Contreras–whose father was a mechanic for Allred–has made it his mission to find Owen Allred. He has been featured on WCBS in New York. In the process of looking for Allred’s plane, he found my uncle’s, as you can see in the sonar image below:
Both my uncle and Allred gave their lives for their country even though they were not in combat when they died. Allred is still missing in action. Back in 1943 the Army wasn’t too enthusiastic about finding my uncle’s body; they needed prodding from someone who cared. Today our government still needs a great deal of prodding on many things.
Bob Contreras has started a petition to attempt to motivate our government to help him in his search for Allred’s plane and remains. He’s already helped to bring closure to one tragedy. If you want to get him help to yet close another, click here and sign the petition he has started. As the petition notes:
Further concern arising from this issue alone is, if JPAC is unwilling to become involved for an MIA right on USA soil, in our Nation’s own “backyard,” how truly effective are they with worldwide efforts?