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Yap Island Mission Loss—24 October 1944

The following plane was lost on 24 October 1944 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:
24 October 1944 FG-1 Corsair from Pelelio Island VFM-122, USMC First Lt. Girvis Haltom, Jr. (025661) Bureau #14180

USMC Narrative describing the loss of First Lt. Girvis Haltom, Jr.

US Marine Corp Letter & Newspaper Article

MIA/KIA STATUS: The following information was provided by the Navy and Marine causality offices:

PERMANENT CEMETERY LAST NAME FIRST NAME MI SUFFIX RANK SERVICE # DISPOSITION
Arkansas HALTOM GIRVIS   Jr. 1 LT O 25661 Individual identification

Description:

Information from Girvis's friend, Harold G. Alford:
1st Lt. Girvis W. (Snooks) Haltom, Jr.
1st Lt. Girvis W. (Snooks) Haltom, Jr.
(Marine Corsair Pilot)
VMF 122; MAG 11; Assign: Peleliu
11 Feb 1923 - 24 Oct 1944

The following information, documents, letters, and pictures have been reprinted with permission from Harold G. Alford, Class 1942, Magnolia A & M, Magnolia, AR.

Girvis W. Haltom, Jr. was the son of Girvis W. & Lossie Mattison Haltom of Stephens, Arkansas. He was a graduate of Stephens High School, Class of 1941, and attended Magnolia A & M College prior to entering the Navy Flight Program in the summer of 1942. Upon graduation and receiving his Commission and wings in 1943, Snooks was assigned to the Marine Fighter Training wing at El Centro, Calif. After instructing in aerial gunnery for several months, he was given an overseas combat assignment and ended up on the South Pacific island of Peleliu during its invasion. After flying close ground support for the invading Marines, he was assigned to a bombing mission to the nearby bypassed island of Yap. After the bombing mission, Snooks dropped down to strafe gun emplacements and was shot down by ground fire. This island was eventually bypassed and it was after war's end that his remains could be returned and interred at Stephens, AR.

Click on an image below to enlarge

Letter from Givis to Harold G. Alford:

Having lived next door to Snooks in Stephens, we corresponded frequently during the war. At the time of his death, I was stationed at Alamogordo AAB, New Mexico where our B-29 crew had just assembled. His last letter was dated October 17th and he was probably deceased before I received the letter.


Letter from Givis to Harold G. Alford

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Newspaper Articles About Girvis


Lt. Halton is Killed in War

Stephens Flier Tells of Fight

Stephens Pilot Dies in Philippines

Letter tells of Flier's Death

Marine Pilot Dies in Philippines
 

Additional Pictures:


Harold G. Alford B-29 and Crew--20th AAF: 315th BW, 331st BG Guam, WWII

(right ot left) Girvis, Mrs Wilson (his mother's relative), and Theron Crockett standing to the right of their 11 grade school. Theron and Harold G. Alford entered the Army Air Corp at the same time. Theron received his P-47 wings at Baton Rouge, LA. Theron went to Italy where he flew P-51's in the 12 AF.

Girvis Haltom Jr Grave SIte in Arkansas

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Girvis Haltom Flight Class Picture:
The FOLD3 website has scanned and posted a number of Navy Flight Class books. I located Girvis's cadet picture using trhe FOLD3 website. The entire page can be viewed by clicking on the following link: view enter page.

First Lt. Girvis Haltom, Jr.
First Lt. Girvis Haltom, Jr. Click to Enlarge

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Girvis Haltom wingman Ed Zolnier:


Click to Enlarge
Craig Fuller from www.AviationArchaeology.com supplied this picture of Girvis Haltom and his wingman, Ed Zolnier. Craig stated:

    "I talked with Ed Zolnier again today. He said Tommy (Girvis Haltom) crashed about a mile in from the southern end of the island (Yap), roughly in the middle from east to west. Attached is a picture of Ed Zolnier on the left and Tommy (Girvis Haltom) on the right. Ed said they were approaching Yap from the south and GUESSED his wingman crashed about a mile in, they were shooting at machine guns in the forest."

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FG-1 Tag from Girvis Haltom crash site:

Click to enlarge picture.

The actual size is 2-1/2" x 2-3/8"

The top line CHANCES INCORP. has the number 266 just before "Chances". After Incorp. there is a small circle with the number 64 inside it, this may be an inspector's stamp.

The second line states this is a Model FG-1 Airplane.

The third line which does not show up well in the photo reads VS10069 INBD FLAP

VS is for Vought Sikorsky, the designers of the Corsair.

Picture and information courtesy of Stan Gajda.

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Grave of an unknown American Flyer on Yap:

Click to Enlarge
The grave of an unknown American flier downed on Yap. 1945. Naval Historical Center. The writting on the cross reads, "Unknown American Flier, Died in Service of his country, 18 October 1944".

In November 2005 I located a picture of the grave of an unknown American flier downed on Yap. The picture was in the Micronesian Seminar Archive. In the winter of 2006 I received the following newspaper article from Craig Fuller with www.AviationArchaeology.com. Craig has been in contact with Girvis’s wingman, Ed Zolnier, who watched his plane crash on Yap.

Here's the text from the small newspaper article about Girvis Haltom Jr.'s grave site on Yap.

    Unknown Flier Buried on Yap Island

    Yap, Caroline Islands (AP) – One of the loneliest American graves in all the Pacific lies beneath the palm trees of this lovely little island. It is the only American grave on Yap. No one knows the name of the young flier who was buried there by the natives after his fighter plane crashed and burned more than three years ago.

    The grave is lonely, but it is not forgotten. Each day the natives place fresh flowers at the base of a crude cross and push back the encroaching jungle growth.

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CINCPAC COMMUNIQUÉ N0. 167, OCTOBER 23, 1944:

http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/comms/1944-10.html
Four grounded enemy planes were destroyed by Corsairs of the Second Marine Aircraft Wing which bombed and strafed the airfield at Yap Island on October 21. On October 22, 23, and 24 similar attacks were repeated. One of our planes was shot down on October 23 by intense antiaircraft fire. Liberators of the Seventh Air Force also bombed Yap on October 21, 22, 23 and 24, setting fires near the airfield and in Yap Town.

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HALTOM, Girvis, Jr., 1st Lt. Information:

HALTOM, Girvis, Jr., 1st Lt., USMCR. Father, Mr. Girvis Halton, Sr., Stephens.

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HALTOM, Girvis, Jr., 1st Lt. Memorial on Yap Island:

I'm pleased to announce a partnership between the Missing Air Crew Project and the Yap Visitors Bureau (YVB). The two organizations have been working together over the few years to document the history of Yap during World War II. The project goals include creating resources to document and share the history, training the Yap tourism industry on the history, setting up a WWII tour process and to create memorials to remember the lifes lost during WWII. The following pictures are of the Girvis Haltom Memorial we setup on Yap Island in 2010 to honor his life.

Click on a thumbnail image below to view the full sized image.


haltom-memorial_01

haltom-memorial_02

haltom-memorial_03

haltom-memorial_04

Please submit additional information.

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