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Flight Honors Missing Men

On April 7, 1944, 11 men training for combat in Nazi-occupied Europe departed from the Westover Air Base in Mass., aboard a four-engine B-24 liberator for a high altitude gunnery and bombing drill over the Montauk Gunnery Range, off the Atlantic coast of Long Island. The plane and its crew were never heard from again. 

 

Now, exactly 70 years later, the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale is honoring the lives of those men as well as nine others who disappeared off the coast of Long Island aboard a similar B-24 aircraft. In honor of the missing flight crews, the American

Airpower Museum flew one of its aircrafts over the Atlantic Ocean, where it dropped two sets of flowers for each of the two missing B-24 flight crews. 

 

“Twenty men were totally unaccounted for,” said American Airpower Museum Manager Larry Starr. “We wanted to honor them in some way... they never received a proper memorial.”

 

According to Starr, the B-24 aircraft was primarily used for petty bombing over cities occupied by Germany. In order to maintain the aircraft, the U.S. military needed to train thousands of flight crews. He said, while on its way to Montauk, one of the two B-24s reportedly experienced engine trouble. After 14 days, the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force called off its search. 

 

“The story picks up again last year,” said Starr, “when somebody came in with a piece of an airplane.” 

 

Starr said last year, a fisherman came to the museum after he had recovered a piece of one of the missing aircrafts, approximately 250 feet due south of Long Island—the location where one of the two missing B-24s was last reported. The fisherman told Starr that he had taken it so several other people and nobody had knew what it was from. 

 

“After looking at the piece we were able to determine it was the right main landing gear of one of the B-24 bombers that crashed off the coast,” Starr said. 

 

Fred Freketic, who organized the memorial ceremony, added that this will be the first time ever that the museum will honor the 20 missing servicemen. 

 

“During World War II, there were 6,350 fatal aircraft crashes reported,” Freketic said. “Only 89 were never found... out of those only 14 were B-24’s, and only two were anywhere near Long Island.”

 

Since the precise origins of the B-24 landing gear recovered in the Atlantic remain unclear, the American Airpower Museum honored the memories of both crews. Freketic said he hopes that by honoring the missing flight crews, it can provide some form of closure for the relatives of the missing servicemen.

News

This month, the Professional Golfers Association of America [PGA] hosted the Barclays Tournament—part of the first round of PGA’s FedEx Tournament with a $1 million prize—at the Bethpage Black Golf Course. From the event, the PGA released $50,000 to the Village of Farmingdale. 

 

“It was great working with the Farmingdale community, one of the best host communities in the country”, said Peter Mele, PGA Tour Director.

Secatogue Avenue between the LIRR train station and Eastern Parkway will be closed until September 1, due to the ongoing construction of Jefferson Plaza—a $59 million transit-oriented development project next to the LIRR station—which will involve installation of water, gas, cable and electrical utility lines underground. When finished, the two phase construction project is expected to end in 154 new apartment units as well as another approximately 19,400 square feet of retail space.

 

“The main reason for doing this now is that there is much less traffic in July and August around the train station,” said Farmingdale Village Mayor Ralph Ekstrand. 


Sports

Throughout the summer, the Farmingdale Observer will feature the box scores from the Farmingdale Baseball League Inc.’s 9/11 Baseball Tournament. 

July 13

Plainedge 12 - Island Trees 2 (9UB)

 

Ozone Howard Huskies 14 - Wantagh Hawks 1 (9UA)

The Farmingale Devils Travel Baseball teams were in action during The 4th of July weekend and provided fireworks in two different states.

 

The 11U Devils won their third tournament this year. They traveled  to Connecticut for the fourth of July tournament. The Devils lost game one on Saturday 7-5 to the Connecticut Defenders and won game two 17-0,The Devils advanced to the playoff round and would meet the Defenders again .The bats were on fire all day led by Big Joe Mcgrath and Nick Franco.The Devils beat the Defenders 11-5 and advanced to the championship to play the number one seed and undefeated Hit Club. The Devils jumped out to 4-2 to lead .The game was tied at 9-9 going to the 6th inning and the Devils would score 2 runs and hold on to win the tournament. The Devils had 52 hits and scored 44 runs,Big Joe had 4 doubles a triple, Nick Franco had 8 hits. Anthony Quatromani 8hits.Matt DiSanti drove in the last run in the championship game. Tim Dorman 6 hits. Patrick Quinn 5 hits and 6 stolen bases. Nick O'Connor 3 hits and 4 stolen bases. Kyle Gaertner 6 hits and was winner pitcher in championship game. Patrick Sanchez was the winning pitcher in semi-final game.


Calendar

DJ Dancetime - July 31

Over The Hill Gang - August 1

Mini Golf and Ices - August 2


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com