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An Adventure in Borneo by John H. Foster—Concerning An Incident of Missing Personnel
The following article has been scanned and reprinted from an original pamphlet publishing in the late 1940's and printed by JJB Printing of Richmond, NH.

Wreckage of the Kizer Plane discovered by John Foster in Borneo.

A father's heartbreaking search for his missing son...

The following pamphlet was written by John H. Foster in the late 1940's about his search for his missing son, Tech. Sgt. Donald Vernon Foster. Donald was part of the Kizer B-24 crew from the 371 Bomb Squadron and 307th Bomb Group that was last heard from on Sunday, October 22, 1944 off the coast of North Borneo in the vicinity of Tarakan. The crew of 10 was on a mission from Kornasoren Airdrome on the island of Noemfoor and was assigned to strike shipping off the coast of North Borneo but the crew failed to return.

John Foster spent six months searching for his son and his crew. He traveled over 35, 000 miles. He ended up finding the wreckage of his son's plane but was not able to locate the crew. He was greatly disappointed in the lack of effort by the US War Departments to locate missing crews after the war and stated, "…whatever chance these missing boys had of being found alive has been thoroughly and completely dissipated through the failure to provide proper searches at the proper time.".

John Foster's heartbreaking search for his son is well documented example of the lack of effort that was put into the search for missing air crews after the end of WWII by the War Department, President, and Congress. Many of the crews were written off as unrecoverable and no searches ever took place. This is why sixty years later there are still more than 78,000 service members missing from World War II, with an estimated 35,000 now deemed recoverable.

Excerpt from "An Adventure in Borneo by John H. Foster":

    My trip took me around-the-world by plane. I traveled about 35,000 miles in all and approximately 33,000 miles of it by air. Total elapsed time was six months. Stops were made in the following countries or islands after flying across the United States to California: Hawaii (Honolulu), Phoenix (Canton), Fiji (Nandi), New Caledonia (Noumea), Australia, Java, Borneo, Banka (Pangkalpinang), Malaya, Singapore, Siam, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Italy, Holland, England, Ireland and Newfoundland. As I retraced my "steps" on several occasions, I was in Java three times, Singapore twice and crossed the equator six times in all.

    The reason for my trip was the incident described above. Being deeply disappointed over the feeble information furnished by the War Department concerning our case, I started preparing for the trip in July 1946. Nineteen months were spent laying plans: securing passport, visas; arranging transportation and studying currency regulations; meeting vaccination and inoculation requirements; contacting missionaries, civil authorities, government agencies, business men and private citizens in foreign lands (mostly in the Netherlands East Indies).

    What was my greatest disappointment? Lack of American cooperation and the failure to search for the missing plane in spite of the War Department's claims that we were so wonderfully well prepared to do so.

Download the entire pamphlet below.

Click on an image below to enlarge:

Download the entire pamphlet in a PDF file format or view the individual pages as images listed below.


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Pictures of the Kizer Crew plane wreckage and of crews Bud Foster flew with while in the 307th Bomb Group


Bud Foster and crew members
371st Bomb Squadron, 307th Bomb Group

Bud Foster and crew members
371st Bomb Squadron, 307th Bomb Group

Kizer Crew plane wreckage
371st Bomb Squadron, 307th Bomb Group

Kizer Crew plane wreckage
371st Bomb Squadron, 307th Bomb Group

Kizer Crew plane wreckage
371st Bomb Squadron, 307th Bomb Group

Neal Fry Crew
371st Bomb Squadron, 307th Bomb Group

5 of 10 members of the Kizer Crew shown after rescue on Los Negros, July 17, 1944. Gayle Kizer, Bob Ashby, Dean Wiley, Hilary Gilbert, and Erickson (not pictured). Erickson was the only one to survive the war. He opted for ground duty after the Kuly 15 crash

Los Negros, June 1944. Wiley (Navigator), Klinefelter (Bombardier), and Kizer (Pilot).

Probably March Field, CA. Back: Klinefelter, Kizer. Front: Callaway, Wiley.

Mr. & Mrs. Martin Kizer in Apache, OK. Parents of Gayle Kizer
   

Newspaper Article:

Author David Zellmer's Letter about the Kizer Crew:

David Zellmer, the author of "The Spectator-A World War II Bomber Pilot's Journal of the Artist As Warrior", wrote the following letter to Bettie Thomas (daughter of John H. Foster) reagrding her father's heartbreaking account of his search for the Kizer crew.

Kizer Crew Documents & Pictures

Additional documents relating to Gayle Kizer and his July 15, 1944 shot down near Yap Island are located at the following link:

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Please submit additioanl 307th Bomb Group information and pictures to: pat@missingaircrew.com


 

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