George Eldon Archer

BRANCH OF SERVICE
U.S. Army Air Forces

HOMETOWN
Yale, OK

HONORED BY
Charlotte White Archer, Wife

ACTIVITY DURING WWII

ENTERED MILITARY SERVICE ON JUNE 7, 1942. SELECTED FOR ARMY AIR FORCES FLIGHT TRAINING. REPORTED TO KELLY FIELD AT SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, THEN SPARTAN FIELD AT MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA, ELLINGTON FIELD AT HOUSTON, TEXAS AND SAN MARCOS ARMY AIR FIELD, TEXAS WHERE HE WAS COMMISSIONED A SECOND LIEUTENANT AND AWARDED NAVIGATOR WINGS. RECEIVED FURTHER TRAINING AT EPHRATA ARMY AIR BASE, WASHINGTON AND AT BOISE, IDAHO. ATTENDED B-24 ‘LIBERATOR’ BOMBER CREW TRAINING AT WENDOVER FIELD, UTAH. SERVED WITH THE 403RD BOMBARDMENT SQUADRON, 43RD BOMBARDMENT GROUP, 5TH AIR FORCE IN THE ASIATIC-PACIFIC THEATER BEGINNING IN LATE 1943. PARTICIPATED IN THE NEW GUINEA, NORTHERN SOLOMONS AND BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO CAMPAIGNS. STATIONED AT DOBODURA AND NADZAB, NEW GUINEA. ON APRIL 16, 1944 TOOK OFF ON A COMBAT MISSION UP THE COAST OF NEW GUINEA WITH A TROPICAL STORM APPROACHING. REACHED THEIR DESTINATION, DROPPED BOMBS AND WERE RETURNING TO BASE WHEN THEIR AIRCRAFT ENCOUNTERED THE FULL FURY OF THE STORM. THE AIRCRAFT NEVER RETURNED TO BASE AND THE 10-MAN CREW WAS DECLARED MISSING IN ACTION. THE 5TH AIR FORCE LOST 37 B-24 AIRCRAFT ON APRIL 16, 1944 AND ANOTHER 9 SERIOUSLY DAMAGED IN THEIR GREATEST OPERATIONAL LOSS OF THE WAR. THE SEVERE WEATHER ACCOUNTED FOR THE LARGEST WEATHER-RELATED LOSS OF AIRCRAFT IN AVIATION HISTORY ON A DAY THAT HAS BEEN CALLED ‘BLACK SUNDAY’. AFTER 22 MONTHS IN A MISSING IN ACTION STATUS, A FINDING OF DEATH WAS DECLARED FOR HIM AND HIS FELLOW CREWMEMBERS ON FEBRUARY 25, 1946. AWARDED THE PURPLE HEART, AIR MEDAL, GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL, AMERICAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL, ASIATIC-PACIFIC CAMPAIGN MEDAL WITH 3 BRONZE SERVICE STARS AND WWII VICTORY MEDAL. ALSO AUTHORIZED THE PRESIDENTIAL (DISTINGUISHED) UNIT CITATION FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM BY HIS UNIT. IN 2005, THE WRECKAGE OF HIS AIRCRAFT WAS DISCOVERED ON A MOUNTAIN IN NEW GUINEA ALONG WITH THE REMAINS OF ITS CREW. IN SEPTEMBER, 2006 HIS REMAINS WERE FORENSICALLY IDENTIFIED, THROUGH DNA-MATCHING WITH HIS BROTHER AND RETURNED TO THE U.S. FOR BURIAL AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY IN ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA.