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Yap Island Mission Loss—21 March 1945

The following plane was lost on 21 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: pat@missingaircrew.com

Date: Plane Type: Unit: Crew Names: Supporting Documents:
21 March 1945 F6F-5
Hellcat
VF-12 from Marine Air Base, Ulithi due to damaged USS Randolph
  1. ENS. DELBERT L MARTIN, 364035
Action Report

VF-12 World War II War Diary

Pictures of Delbert LaRue Martin:

The following pictures were supplied by the family of Delbert LaRue Martin:


Delbert LaRue Martin, top row, right side. Caption: 1945-Location unknown. LaRue Martin was on first raids over Tokyo and had a 1 1/2 confirmed enemy shot down.

Delbert LaRue Martin. Caption: 1945-location unknown. Some pilots from Fighting Squadron 12. Written: Based on the USS Randolph (aircraft). Ensign LaRue Martin-on propeller hub.

Delbert LaRue Martin. Caption. LaRue was killed on a straffing mission on Yap Island.

Delbert LaRue Martin and unknown little boy. The picture was taken on the family farm in Indiana.

Description:

    HIT GRD STRAFING;POSS AA HIT
    United States Naval Reserve
    Entered the Service from: Indiana
    Died: 22-Mar-46
    Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
    Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
    Manila, Philippines
    Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal
    Ens. Delbert LaRue Martin
    USNR
    Parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Frank Martin from Fountaintown, IN

    Delbert apparently did not marry. He had one sister Scytha Martin Brown who died in 1993 and a brother Robert L Martin who died in 2003. Delbert's maternal first cousin is Maurice Eugene Boring. I talked to Maurice and he said Delbert was a little guy, light build but a ball of fire. He stopped by to say goodbye before leaving for the service. His parents thought he was lost at sea and his dad walked the roads in grief for years.

VF-12 and VB-12 flew this mission from the Marine Air Base in Ulithi due to their carrier being damaged by a Japanese attack in the Ulithi harbor. They flew with a support package of Marine planes (F6F-5, TBM-3 and PBY-5A) from Casu-51 and VPB-23. Ens. Martin went into a dive with the other F6F-5 from VF-12 but never pulled out. It was not known whether he had been hit by AA, blacked out, or a structural failure caused the plane to crash near the Pelak harbor entrance on Gagil-Tomil, Yap.

VF-12 History

On 11 March 1945, while anchored at Ulithi Atoll, a Yokosuka P1Y Frances kamikaze hit the Randolph on the starboard side aft just below the flight deck, killing 25 men and wounding 106. She was repaired at Ulithi Atoll before joining Task Group 58.2 enroute to Okinawa on 13 March 1945. USS Randolph (CV-15) alongside repair ship Uss Jason (ARH-1) at Ulithi Atoll, Caroline Islands, 13 March 1945, showing damage to her after flight deck resulting from a kamikaze hit on 11 March.

VF-12 World War II War Diary

VF-12 War Report


     
    Campaign to Bring Ens. Delbert LaRue Martin Home. He was from Fountaintown, Indiana.

    May 25, 2015

    This memorial day (2015) I have decided to start a campaign to bring Delbert Martin home. The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency mission is to "Provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation." Therefore, I would like to ask anyone who has any extra time to start a letter/email writing campaign to the DOD, your Senators and Congressmen, the political leaders in Indiana (Delbert's home state) and any media outlet (newspapers, TV, etc. especially the ones located in Indiana). Please use the information below within your emails and letters:

    Delbert was shot down over Yap Island on March 21, 1945, http://www.missingaircrew.com/yap/mac/21march1945.asp. He was listed as missing in action (MIA). While doing research in the National Archives (NARA) I located a document dated January 17, 1946 that clearly shows the American Military Headquarters with Task Unit 94.3.3. had identified Delbert's grave on Yap Island. His name was even painted on the cross over the grave site.

    http://www.missingaircrew.com/pdf/17Jan1946-Martin-ID.pdf
    http://www.missingaircrew.com/pdf/17jan46-Yap-Search.pdf

    A document dated November 30, 1945 provides information about the first American's to find Delbert's crash site and grave on November 27, 1945.

    http://www.missingaircrew.com/pdf/30nov45-Yap-Search.pdf

    The following April 8, 1947 document once again shows the correct grave site (#4) but someone has now listed his name as B.L. Martin not D.L. Martin. They also have the wrong date listed for his loss. Between January 1946 and April 1947 the US military lost the identification of Delbert, his unit (VF-12) and date of his loss.

    http://www.missingaircrew.com/pdf/yapburials-8April1947.pdf

    The following X-Grave file from August 30, 1949 now lists his remains as UNKNOWN and UNIDENTIFIABLE: http://www.missingaircrew.com/pdf/X-31-Grave-YAP.pdf

    Although Delbert's grave was identified shortly after the war ended, his remains were essentially misplaced by the US Military and he was never returned home to his family. Delbert's family had no idea in their lifetime that Delbert was actually identified and recovered on Yap, reburied for a few years at the Marine Cemetery on Guam and then sent to a mausoleum at the American Military cemetery in Manila, Philippines under the unidentified/unknown grave marked X-31.

    Ens. Delbert LaRue Martin (364035) parents were Mr. and Mrs. J. Frank Martin from Fountaintown, Indiana. Delbert did not marry. He had one sister Scytha Martin Brown who died in 1993 and a brother Robert L Martin who died in 2003. Delbert's maternal first cousin is Maurice Eugene Boring. Maurice said Delbert was a little guy, light build but a ball of fire. He stopped by to say goodbye to Maurice before leaving for the service. His parents thought he was lost at sea and his dad walked the county roads in grief for years.

    Delbert was a member of the US Navy VF-12 Squadron from the from USS Randolph. He was shot down while flying from the Marine Air Base, Ulithi due to kamikaze damaged to the USS Randolph on March 11, 1945.

    VF-12 and VB-12 flew this mission from the Marine Air Base in Ulithi due to their carrier being damaged by a Japanese attack in the Ulithi harbor. They flew with a support package of Marine planes (F6F-5, TBM-3 and PBY-5A) from Casu-51 and VPB-23. Ens. Martin went into a dive with the other F6F-5 from VF-12 but never pulled out. It was not known whether he had been hit by AA, blacked out, or a structural failure caused the plane to crash near the Pelak harbor entrance on Gagil-Tomil, Yap.

    Help me to bring Ens. Delbert LaRue Martin home or in the very least let's identify his grave so he does not remain missing. This would be the "… fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel".

    Respectfully,

    -Pat

    Patrick T. Ranfranz
    Missing Air Crew Project Founder, www.missingaircrew.com
    1473 21 1/2 Street, Cameron, WI 54822
    Home: 715-458-0020
    Cell: 612-282-5624
    Email: pat@missingaircrew.com

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    The Missing Air Crew Project and its web site, www.missingaircrew.com is dedicated to the mission to research and locate the unaccounted for men and planes who were lost near Yap Island during WWII. We should find our fallen men and bring them home, no matter where they fell, or how long ago they have been lost.

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