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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

Farmingdale village officials will be holding a public hearing on Dec. 1, to reexamine school speed zones throughout the village, in order to establish a consistent school speed zone limit. 

Holidays Increase Daily Congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

At a special “wrap up “ meeting for the 2014 Marcum Workplace Challenge, Greater Long Island Running Club Vice President and Event Director Mindy Davidson of Farmingdale, presented a special plaque to Winsome Foulkes, team captain of the Farmingdale-based Telephonics Corporation.  Winsome is retiring from Telephonics after a long and successful career and has led the Telephonics Corporation in the Marcum Workplace Challenge since its inception.  

There is simply no better way for runners and their families to celebrate the Holiday Season than by being part of the fun at the Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt Holiday 5 Kilometer Run, and on Saturday morning, Dec. 20, the Run will be celebrating its 27th anniversary edition at the John F. Kennedy Middle School in Bethpage. The run will start at 9:30 a.m. on Broadway in Bethpage.


Calendar

Les Miserables - November 21

The Wedding Singer - November 21

Holiday Parade - November 22


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
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