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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

Philip D’Aguanno, 79, of Melville, passed away on Oct. 15. Loving husband of Maria. Devoted Father, father-in-law and grandfather. A funeral mass was held at S.t Kilian R.C. Church. Interment Holy Rood Cemetery. Funeral arrangements entrusted to the McCourt & Trudden Funeral Home, Inc.


The Citizens Campaign for the Environment, a Farmingdale-based advocacy group, recently joined state lawmakers and Massapequa water district officials for a press conference calling on New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the proposed Navy Grumman Plume Remediation Act (A9492), which has already passed both the state Assembly and Senate, in an effort to protect Long Island’s drinking water and the Great South Bay from the Grumman-U.S. Navy underground plume of toxic chemicals. 


Sports

Nassau County ASA President Keith O’Donnell and Chief Umpire Vincent Donnelly recently presented a $2400 check to Over the Hill Gang President Jim Reilly. The donation will be added to the funds the men’s softball league raised on behalf of Sal Pugliese Jr. as the young boy battles a rare hip disorder. The OTHG would like to thank the ASA for its generous contribution to a fantastic local cause.

—Submitted by the Over the Hill Gang


Farmingdale runners Theresa Gannon, Chris Bartlett, Patty Baker and Jenine Cottone each came home with an award from the Blue Ribbon 10 kilometer and 5 kilometer runs for Prostate Cancer at Syosset-Woodbury Community Park. 


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Thanksgiving Eve - November 26

Altheas Boutique Opening - November 29

Tri-Centennial Tree Lighting - December 2


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