22 December 1944 — Saipan, Mariana Islands
Charles Robert Schlayer was born at Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1917.
Enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the Army Air Forces on 5 January 1942 at Olmsted Field near Middletown, Pennsylvania. On 24 October 1942, he graduated from Army Air Force Navigation School Training Class 42-14 at Selman Field near Monroe, Louisiana and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. Underwent B-29 aircraft transition and operational combat crew training at Smoky Hill Army Air Field near Salina, Kansas.
Deployed to the Central Pacific Theatre of Operations and was assigned to 20th Air Force, XXI Bomber Command, 73rd Bomb Wing, 499th Bombardment Group, 877th Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
On 22 December 1944, he flew as the Navigator aboard a Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Tail Code V-Square-7 (Serial #42-24684). It was one of 78 aircraft launched in a multi-group formation to bombard the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Company and Aircraft Engine Plants near Nagoya, Japan. Flak from anti-aircraft artillery was heavy and Japanese fighter aircraft attacks were described as moderate, with 508 passes reported. His aircraft sustained damage to the #3 engine from a head-on attack by a single-engine "Tony" Kawasaki Ki-61 fighter aircraft. Several enemy fighter planes attacked his aircraft as it fell back from the formation and began losing altitude.
His aircraft never returned to Saipan and was last sighted approximately 90 nautical miles south of Nagoya, at a geographic location of 33 degrees +40 minutes North and 137 degrees +17 minutes East.
Initially listed as MIA, he was declared KIA one year later on 23 Dec 1945.