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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

At a recent meeting of the Farmingdale Board of Education, school district superintendent John Lorentz discussed New York State’s proposal to invest $2 billion into districts statewide

through the Smart Schools Bond Act.

 

If approved by voters in the upcoming general elections, the act would allow the state to borrow $2 billion in the form of a capital bond to provide students with access to classroom

technology and high-speed internet connectivity, with the goal of equalizing opportunities for children to learn, adding classroom space, expanding pre-kindergarten programs, replacing classroom trailers with permanent instructional space and installing high-tech security features in schools. 

Over the weekend, thousands of Long Island residents flocked to the Village of Farmingdale for its 26th annual Columbus Day Weekend Fair and Fireman’s carnival. Running from Oct. 9

to 13, the five-day affair featured live music from Farmingdale’s own Electric Dudes and Long Island party band Superbad, a Fire Department barbecue, food vendors, a street fair, fireworks, carnival rides, games for kids of all ages and, of course, the Columbus Day parade. 


Sports

Last week, officials with the St. Kilian Saints baseball team inducted John Lombardi and Aaron Powell into their Hall of Fame. 

 

—Submitted by Farmingdale PAL and St. Kilian Baseball 


The 2014 Reilly Cup finals featured the two most successful OTHG teams over the last 9 years. Sal’s Place and Singleton’s have had 11 finals appearances and 7 championships between them during this period of time. They split 2 games during the regular season and Singleton’s became the winner’s bracket representative in the 2014 Cup by beating Sal’s deep in the tournament.

 

Sal’s took the first game 14-7. The game was close until the 8th inning when Sal’s broke it open with some timely hits and taking advantage of a Singleton’s miscue or two.  Sal’s held

Singleton’s to 7 runs with outstanding all-around defense, which was particularly impressive given that some of their significant contributors were visibly fighting through late-season injuries. 


Calendar

Homecoming - October 24

Autumn Fair - October 25

St. Kilian Blood Drive - October 26


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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