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Yap Island Mission Loss—16 March 1945
The following plane was lost on 16 March 1945 on a mission to Yap Island. I would greatly appreciate anyone's help to locate additional information regarding the information listed below.Submit additional information, updates, newpaper articles, pictures, and supporting documents to: firstname.lastname@example.org
MIA/KIA STATUS: The following information was provided by the Navy and Marine causality offices:
Pictures of the crew members:
PFC Edgar Russell Norcross Dog Tags Located:
Click to enlarge the following picture of Edgar Norcoss's dog tags. The dog tags were purchased at an auction by a collector. We do not know the source of the tags:
Description of loss:
Yap, Crowley, Joseph, 2nd Lt. and PFC Edgar Russell Norcross listed as missing in action and not recovered. PFC Kenneth D Gillispie (Gunner), Body Recovered after the war. PFC Kenneth D Gillispie parents listed as Mr and Mrs David Gillispie of St Moberly, MO.
Marine Air Corps VMTB-232 based on the island of Ulithi. Plane was shot down and crashed on Yap island on March 16 1945. He was a gunner on a TBF.
COM Ulithi Atoll War Diaries:
Aviation Cadets Book
October 30, 1943 Cadet Graduation Picture of Joseph Crowley
Crash Site Pictures from 16 September 1945
Click to enlarge the pictures.
Photo Credits: National Archives, courtesy of Timothy Schubert.
Wing of TBM "likely" located on Yap, July 2007 by Missing Air Crew Project Researcher, Stan Gajda:
I have been working with Stan Gajda over the last few months to help with my search for American crash sites on Yap. Stan has traveled to Yap a few times in recent months and offered to help with my Missing Air Crew Project. One of the crash sites that I have been trying to locate is a Marine TBM-3 Avenger that crashed near the old runway on Yap on March 16, 1945. From the description of the loss it sounds like the brand new TBM might have lost of wing due to a structural problem. The TBM only had 65 hours on it when it was lost over Yap.
The crash claimed the life's of three crew members Joseph Crowley, Kenneth D Gillispie and Edgar Russell Norcross. After the war the US Military grave registration service located the wreckage but only recovered one of the crew member bodies. The remains of Kenneth D Gillispie was sent back to his family and buried in Missouri.
During Stan Gajda's July 2007 trip to Yap he likely located the wing of the TBM Avenger. We are still trying to confirm the wing belongs to this TBM loss, however, a number of plane experts have identified the wreckage as a TBM wing with rocket mounts. Stan's discovery will help us focus on this area during our next search trip to try and locate the main body of wreckage. Pictures of the Avenger wing found by Stan Gajda can be viewed below.
Click to enlarge images
August 2011 Update
Additional pieces of the TBM were found by Stan Gajda near the wing found in 2008. The wreckage in the pictures below are of the right wing near the area that the wing would fold. Stan spent a few days searching for other parts of the TBM while he was docked in Yap working on a fishing boat.
Click to enlarge images
January 2012 Update
The following all-weather memorial sign will be shipped to Yap and installed at the crash site to remember the three men. A marble marker will be shipped with the sign and encased in concrete next to the sign. The memorial project has been a partnership between the Missing Air Crew Project and the Yap Visitors Bureau that has been ongoing since 2008. The plan is to setup all-weather memorial signs and markers for all of the men killed on Yap during WWII.
American Battle Monuments Commission Information about Joseph Crowley:
American Battle Monuments Commission Information about Edgar R. Norcross:
Please submit additional information.
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