Summary

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Army 1
Birth:
1917 1
Vermont 1
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Person:
Ray F B Fletcher 1
Level of Education: 4 years of college 1
Marital Status: Single, without dependents 1
Birth:
1917 1
Vermont 1
Residence:
Place: Worcester County, Massachusetts 1
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World War II 1

Branch:
Army 1
Enlistment Date:
16 Mar 1942 1
Army Branch:
Medical Administrative Corps - For Officers only 1
Army Serial Number:
11062807 1
Enlistment Place:
Boston Massachusetts 1
Enlistment Term:
Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law 1
Source of Army Personnel:
Civil Life 1
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Occupation:
Financial institution clerks, n.e.c. 1
Race or Ethnicity:
White 1
Source Information:
Box Number: 0063 1
Film Reel Number: 1.56 1

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Lt Ray Foley Bentley Fletcher, Pilot, 310thBG,380thBS

Corsica, France

Ray's cousin, Rhetta Fletcher
3 images

Lt Ray Foley Bentley Fletcher, 310th Bomb Group, 380th Bomb Squadron. WWII Combat Pilot of the B-25 Mitchells of the 310th Bomb Group, 380th Bomb Squad /Italy/Corsica.  12th Air Force, 57th Bomb Wing.   Ray was the pilot and the Crash occurred because of bad weather and zero visibility near the top of a Corsican Mountain.  

321stBG,447thBS, Combat Ship #42-53371 /Available that day for a courier run.  This ship also had Capt Geerlings, Edwin Elliott, Richard Loring and Red Cross gal, Carolyn Chapin aboard.  All died instantly in the crash, in extremely rugged and in accessible rocky-craigs, near the top of the Corsican Mountain.

Wednesday, 10 May 1944  HQ 57th BW

20 August, 2010;

ESSEX, Vt.—Sixty-six years after his plane crashed in Corsica, a World War II pilot was laid to rest Friday at a family plot in Vermont.

U.S. Army Air Force First Lt. Ray Fletcher, of Westborough, Mass., and four others were on a courier mission when their plane crashed into a mountain on May 10, 1944, five days after Fletcher turned 27.

All five died, but their remains, scattered among rugged terrain, weren't recovered until 2005. DNA then had to be collected from relatives to match to the remains to confirm their identities.

On Friday, Fletcher's flag-draped casket was carried past a line of veterans bearing flags and into the small St. James Episcopal Church in Vermont, where his parents were from, for a funeral.

Fletcher's cousin, 90-year-old Rhetta Fletcher, of Lanesborough, Mass., who picked the hymnals and songs such as "God Bless America" and "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder" for the funeral called it a wonderful day that gives closure to the family.

"I don't think there's anything to mourn at this late date. It's just closure," she said.

Fletcher's remains were placed below a gravestone inscribed years ago with his name, and bearing the names of his parents and sister, as seven soldiers fired a 21-gun salute, two F-16s roared overhead and a soldier played taps from a far corner.

The B-25 pilot had earned eight Air medals, which at the time meant that he had flown more than 70 combat missions, said Lt. Col. Michael Assid, current commander of the squadron on which Fletcher had served, who traveled from Colorado to attend the funeral.

"He was definitely a combat veteran, and the veterans who are still around today remember him very well," said Assid, who described Fletcher as one of the most experienced pilots in the squadron.

"It wasn't the combat mission that took him. So the fact that he was lost in severe weather over the mountains was a reminder to the guys that military aviation is a dangerous business no matter what the circumstances," Assid said.ts from Missing Air Crew Report # 16458: Plane B-25 type AP was on a routine training flight, en route to Ghisonaccia, Corsica, on 10 May 1944 when it crashed into a mountain near Sartene, Corsica. A/C No. 42-53371 “Death Wind” (MACR-16458 - crashed into mountain) (formerly 447th BS ship) P Geerlings, Lewis J., Capt, HQ 57th BW - KNB CP Fletcher, Ray F., 1Lt, HQ 57th BW - KNB PAX Elliott, Edwin (NMI), S/Sgt, HQ 57th BW - KNB PAX Chapin, Carolyn, American Red Cross - KNB PAX Loring, Richard H., PFC, HQ 57th BW - KNB None None None

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Essex Junction, Vermont - August 20, 2010

Every soldier waits for the day he or she can come home. One World War II pilot from Vermont waited 66 years.
"This guy had a right to come home to some sort of a ceremony," veteran John Butts said. "His counterparts did and he just missed out on it. So this is his welcome home."

First Lt. Ray Fletcher's long road home began shortly after his 27th birthday in 1944. His bomber plane encountered heavy storms and went down in the mountains of Corsica in the Mediterranean. At the time, he was declared "Killed in Action" and his body was not recovered. It wasn't until 2005 that his remains were recovered from those mountains. They were recently identified for return to his family.

"I was quite shocked when the Army called me about a year ago," said 90-year-old Rhetta Fletcher, the pilot's cousin. "Some of us thought it was a phony."

On Wednesday Lt. Fletcher's remains were flown to Albany and then transferred to Vermont. The Vermont Army Air National Guard's Honor Guard led the dignified transfer of Lt. Fletcher's remains.
Honor, respect and remembrance hung thickly in the air, as past and present members of the military filed into St. James Episcopal Church in Essex Junction.
Two airmen from Lt. Fletcher's successor unit came from Colorado to remember their fallen brother.

"We immediately went to our wing commander and asked if we could come here and be a part of the ceremony, so of course agreed. So here we are," said LT COL MICHAEL ASSID of the 380th Space Control Squadron.

Lt. Fletcher was given a full formal military burial. His last surviving relative, Rhetta Fletcher, was presented with the casket flag. And the military expressed its gratitude for the airman's service one last time.
Lt. Fletcher was laid to rest next to his parents at the Mountain View Cemetery in Essex Center.

Barbi Ennis Connolly, 321stBG Historian and 57th Bomb Wing Researcher  PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com

Lt Ray Foley Bentley Fletcher, WWII B-25 Pilot, 310thBG /MTO

Corsica, France

Lt Ray Fletcher was a Combat Pilot for the 310th Bomb Group, the 380th BS, then the 379thBS, and later assigned to the 321stBG, 447thBS, The "Deathwind" was to have been his Ship.

Col Michael Assid, of the 390th Space Control Squadron, of the 310th Space Wing will be attending the "Coming HOME" services in Vt. His is the C.O. of the 380th SCS, the Legacy Squadron, as it has continued with pause since WW II.

Airman Missing In Action From WWII Identified   ...    August 17, 2010   
    The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.  
     U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Ray F. Fletcher, of Westborough, Mass., will be buried Aug. 20 in Burlington, Vt. 
     On May 10, 1944, he and four others aboard a B-25C Mitchell bomber took off from Ajaccio, Corsica, on a routine courier mission to Ghisonaccia, Corsica. They failed to reach the destination and were officially reported missing on May 13, 1944.  Two days later, French police reported finding aircraft wreckage on the island's Mount Cagna. 
    The U.S. Army's Graves Registration Command visited the crash site in 1944 and reported remains were not recoverable.  It was not until May 1989 that Corsican authorities notified U.S. Army Memorial Affairs Activity-Europe that they had found wreckage of an American WWII-era aircraft and turned over human remains collected at the mountainous location.  They sent a survey team to the site and determined the terrain was too rugged to support a recovery effort.  In 2003 and 2004, two French nationals provided U.S. authorities with crew-related equipment recovered from the crash site. 
     A Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) team excavated the location in September 2005 and recovered additional human remains as well as more crew-related equipment. 
      Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of Fletcher's remains. 
     This month marks the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.  More than 400,000 of the 16 million Americans who served during the war died.  At the end of the conflict, the U.S. government was unable to recover, identify and bury approximately 79,000 as known persons. Today, more than 72,000 World War II Americans remain unaccounted-for. 
      For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420. 
  U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

Ray F B Fletcher DNB 10 May, 1944

Vermont

Airman Missing In Action From WWII Identified   
                  The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.  
                    U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Ray F. Fletcher, of Westborough, Mass., will be buried Aug. 20 in Burlington, Vt. 
                    On May 10, 1944, he and four others aboard a B-25C Mitchell bomber took off from Ajaccio, Corsica, on a routine courier mission to Ghisonaccia, Corsica. They failed to reach the destination and were officially reported missing on May 13, 1944.  Two days later, French police reported finding aircraft wreckage on the island's Mount Cagna. 
                    The U.S. Army's Graves Registration Command visited the crash site in 1944 and reported remains were not recoverable.  It was not until May 1989 that Corsican authorities notified U.S. Army Memorial Affairs Activity-Europe that they had found wreckage of an American WWII-era aircraft and turned over human remains collected at the mountainous location.  They sent a survey team to the site and determined the terrain was too rugged to support a recovery effort.  In 2003 and 2004, two French nationals provided U.S. authorities with crew-related equipment recovered from the crash site. 
                    A Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) team excavated the location in September 2005 and recovered additional human remains as well as more crew-related equipment. 
                    Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of Fletcher's remains.                  This month marks the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.  More than 400,000 of the 16 million Americans who served during the war died.  At the end of the conflict, the U.S. government was unable to recover, identify and bury approximately 79,000 as known persons. Today, more than 72,000 World War II Americans remain unaccounted-for. 
                    U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

Col Mike Assid od the 380th SCS, 310th Space Wing to speak at the interment of Lt Ray Fletcher, 380th Bomb Squad, 310th Bomb Group, WWII /MTO
SPC John Curtis, of the Vermont National Guard Military Funerals Honor Guard. SPC  has been assigned to escort the remains of 1st Lt. Ray F. Fletcher to his final resting place in Essex Junction, VT. Lt. Fletcher served in the 310th’s 379th and 380th squadrons before being assigned to 57th BW headquarters. He died when his B-25C, "Deathwind" #42-53371, crashed into Mount Cagna, Corsica on May 10, 1944. Our friends from Corsica, Frank Allegrini, Jean Claude Albertini, Marc François Casanova and journalist Armando Sabene were instrumental in getting the Pentagon to dispatch a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, to the crash site to identify remains of the victims:

P Geerlings, Lewis J., Capt, HQ 57th BW
CP Fletcher, Ray F., 1Lt, HQ 57th BW
PAX Elliott, Edwin (NMI), S/Sgt, HQ 57th BW
PAX Chapin, Carolyn, American Red Cross
PAX Loring, Richard H., PFC, HQ 57th BW
 
A funeral for Lt. Fletcher is scheduled for Friday, August 20, 2010 at 1100 at Mountain View Cemetery in Essex Junction, VT. Lt. Fletcher's remains should arrive at Burlington International Airport on the 19th for Honorable transfer. Those dates and times all depend on the remains coming in as scheduled. Members of the Vermont National Guard are expecting things to go as planned, but the arrival is not set in stone yet. Also planned for the funeral is a flyover of F-16s and there will be a contingent of VIP USAF Generals. Col. Mike Assid, C.O. 380th SCS, plans on attending the service as well. Lt. Fletcher’s family had reserved a plot and included him in the stone as a memorial in case he was found. 

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