Written by Daniel Offner Wednesday, 09 April 2014 00:00
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.
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:38
Lt. Matt Komorowski of Farmingdale was recently honored with the first annual American Heroes award, for showing bravery when faced with impossible odds.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Komorowski was one of six FDNY firefighters with Ladder Co. 6, called to the World Trade Center just a short while before the tower collapsed. Arriving at the scene, Komorowski and the members of his ladder company rushed inside the building. As they rushed up the stairs the men of Ladder 6 stopped to assist Josephine Harris, a then 60-year-old Brooklyn grandmother, who was stuck in the stairwell of the building.
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:28
Thirteen years since the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, hundreds of residents flocked to Town Park Point Lookout, to witness a compelling new memorial tribute honoring all those who lost their lives that day.
At the center of the ceremony were two 18-foot-tall, sand-crafted tribute towers set against a 35-foot-long “Wall of Heroes” mural, which depicts the Manhattan skyline, and a reflecting pool at the base of the memorial display.
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
The 2014 Farmingdale Flag Football season kicked off with a blast on Sept. 7.
3rd Grade Division
The Texans and the Jets played a great opening weekend game, with the Texans getting the victory. For the Texans, touchdown pass from Joseph Spano to Jaxon Parisi with 20 seconds in the half broke a tie that the Jets never came back from. The Jets were led by Brendan O’Keefe, who had two rushing touchdowns and Jimmy Caputo, who picked off a pass at the goal line.
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
Farmingdale State College’s women’s tennis team opened the 2014 season with an 8-1 victory over John Jay College (0-1) on Sept. 3. The Rams (1-0) held a 2-1 advantage after doubles play before sweeping the singles matches.