Owen was born On August 10, 1920 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Joseph McAllister and Vera Bennion. He had two brothers Warren, and Gerald and one sister Bella.
In 1940 Owen was in his first year of college at the University of Utah. He enlisted on September 29, 1941 and took flight training at Cal-Aero and Victorville pilot training schools in California. In April of 1942 he received his commission and in August was assigned to the South West Pacific. As a sophomore attending the University of Utah he was the first student to complete his Civil Aeronautics Administration training course.
He was attached to the 71st Squadron 38th Bomb Group, 4th Air Dept. Group, U. S. Army Air Corps.
On November 11, 1942, 2nd LT McAllister was co-piloting the B-25D Mitchell Bomber #341-29702 nicknamed ‘Satan’s Pet’ when the plane caught fire a few minutes after take off on a routine practice mission. The B-25 caught fire, the pilot attempted to make a landing over water. While it was only 200 yards off shore it exploded blowing the aircraft to bits with all crew onboard including:
2nd Lt. Walter T. Green, Jr. (0-659970) of Cooleemee, North Carolina - pilot
2nd Lt. Joseph O. "Owen" McAllister (0-724637) - acting Co-pilot
S/Sgt Charles Evans (7022202) of Ambridge, Penn.
Cpl. Donald P. Evans (18069309), of Windsor Colorado
Cpl. John A. Halmekangas (17025693), of Virginia, Minnesota
They were embalmed and buried in the Townsville US Cemetery, Queensland, Australia, 11 November 1942, grave 61, row 4, plat 3-C. They were later exhumed and reburied at the US Military Cemetery at Ipswich west of Brisbane in south east Queensland. In 1947 they were exhumed again and transported by the Victory ship USAT Groucher Victory to Guadalcanal where they were transferred to the USAT Cardinal O'Connell, a funeral ship, which then sailed to Hawaii, where they were repatriated.
Final resting place for 2nd Lt. Joseph Owen McAllister took place on 6 March 1948, Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake, Utah.
United States Aviator Badge WWII Victory Medal American Campaign Medal Army Presidential Unit Citation Army Good Conduct Medal
On February 19, 1943 a V-Mail was received by Owen’s parents, Joseph and Vera from 1st Lt. George A. Gillespie, a friend of the family, offering not only sympathy but an explanation regarding their son’s death. The body of the message is as follows:
My Dear Vera and Mac,
I was very shocked when I received your letter about the tragedy that has struck your family, and I am personally grieved over your loss of Owen. A real man, and a gallant hero. My deepest condolences and sympathy to you.
Owen’s squadron is in our command, so I went over immediately to see his squadron commander, Major (Bob) R.H. McCutcheon, whom I know personally. I had a long chat with him, and several of the other officers who knew Owen very well; and how proud you would be to know how much they all thought of your son, and how his tragedy hit everyone in the squadron. I learned the entire story of the accident, but due to ridgid regulations, cannot tell you everything via letter. Rest assured, that at the the first possible opportunity, I shall give you every minute detail.
Major McCutcheon wrote you on January 8, which letter I have read, and frankly, I can write little more than what was contained in his letter, much to my dislike. Owen’s personal effects have been taken care of according to regulations, which means that any government property will be removed, and all personal property boxed up and sent directly to you. This all has been done already, so you should receive it soon. His insurance has been mentioned in the Major’s letter to you.
After a talk with the Adjutant General and Chief of Staff of this command, I can tell you the mishap occurred 5 minutes after the take off of a routine practice mission. The plane caught fire, and the pilot attempted to make a landing over water. About 200 yards off shore and at the same altitude, it exploded, blowing the plane to bits, with none of the crew surviving. The end was instantaneous, and there was no suffering by any of them.
Owen was acting co-pilot, and the pilot was Lt. Walter T. Green of Cooleemee, NC Rest of the crew were: Sgt. Charles Evans, Ambridge, Penn., Corp. Donald Evans, (no relation to the other Evans), Windsor, Colo., Cpl. John A. Halmekangas, Virginia, Minn. Exact location of the accident, and place of burial cannot be mentioned at this time, but full military honors were given the men, and the entire squadron were present to pay a last tribute.
I attempted to find Owen’s best friend, and learned it was his regular navigator, Jack Mills who was not with him on that flight. However, Jack too, has given the same supreme sacrifice that Owen did, for a cause that is greater than any of us individually. Dear folks, I hope this gives you some picture of the tragedy, and any further service I can do for you,, please don’t hesitate to call on me.
38th Bomb Group Association - http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php
Australia at War - https://www.ozatwar.com/ozcrashes/qld96.htm Ancestry - https://www.ancestry.com Find A Grave - http://www.findagrave.com Honor States - http://www.honorstates.org Newspapers.com - http://www.newspapers.com Wikipedia - http://www.wikipedia.com