shemya funeral, hillside cemetery services
The following is the story of one of Shemya's 404th Bomb Squadron's greatest tragedies. A B-24 with the 404th's CO, Lt. Col. John Lawson on board, approached Shemya on June 16th, 1946 in a routine flight back from the mainland of Alaska. The B-24 and its crew ran into a dreaded but typical heavy fog as it approached Shemya. The fog was so thick, it prevented the B-24 from landing. Instead, they circled the island as long as they could, waiting for the fog to break. No luck. . .the fog didn't lift, and the B-24 ran out of fuel. With no options left, the crew bailed out of the aircraft. Lt. Col. Lawson was killed, along with Lt. Phillip Oltuskey, 1st Lt. Hilger, Staff Sgt. Throop, and Pfc Elebee. Surviving the crash were Lt. Augustine, Sgt. Croan, and Cpl. Earls. The pictures are of the funeral services held at Shemya's Hillside Cemetery and of the service at Shemya's Base Chapel on the 16th of July, 1946. What makes this event even more tragic is that it happened when the war was over! Our thanks goes to William Blake (a former resident of Shemya in 1946 while assigned to the 404th Bomb Squadron (H) and contributor of many of the photos seen on the Shemya WWII pages) for this information and for the photos as well. Bill currently lives in Medford, MA.