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An Adventure in Borneo by John H. Foster—Concerning An Incident of Missing Personnel
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":
(pdf 2.8 MB)
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.
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