Robert Neil Zern, World War II CasualtyPorter County Data on World War II Casualties . . . .
Robert Neil Zern
Aviation Machinist's Mate Second Class, Torpedo Squadron 16, US Navy Reserve
Date of Death: July 11, 1946
Cause of Death: Missing in Action (airplane crashed after hit by anti-aircraft fire)
Monument: Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
Awards: Purple Heart
Service Notes: On July 10, 1944, AMM2 Robert N. Zern was on a flight over enemy territory with his regular pilot, Lieutenant W. K. Holmes, when their plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Witnesses stated that they observed that the airplane had a severe oil leak. Lieutenant Holmes communicated that they were returning to base, but before the airplane could reach base it was further communicated that it would be necessary for the airplane to make a water landing. The airplane was landed in a normal manner. Lieutenant Holmes, AMM3 Zern, and the radioman on the airplane were then seen in three life rafts with complete survival equipment. They signaled by waving at Lt. E. P. Baker, Ensign G. J. Wilson, and Ensign C. A. Slater who circled overhead and remained in the area until 6:20 pm, which was approximately sunset. The planes returned to the ship after dark. Seaplanes were unable to contact the crash survivors in a search that was conducted the following two days by Air Sea Rescue Facilities. No trace of the rafts or survivors was ever found.
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Information abstracted and transcribed by Steven R. Shook