Pvt. Charles P. "Sonny" Chouteau, ASN 18108609

Radio Operator - Reese Crew

10th Air Force / 7th Bombardment Group / 436th Bombardment Squadron

KIA 28 October 43

Air Medal    Purple Heart

Private Charles P. Chouteau
(Image Courtesy of Dale Bryan / Info - 7th Bombardment Group/Wing 1918-1995 by Robert F. Dorr)

Chouteau was the radio operator on B-24 #42-40248, assigned to the 10th Air Force, 7th Bombardment Group, 436th Bombardment Squadron.

They were part of a group of planes on a bombing mission to Toungoo. On the second bombing run, a three plane formation got out of position and when they dropped their bombs, one struck the wing of Chouteau's plane. The bomb did not explode, but the plane burst into flames, dropped off to the left for about one thousand feet and then exploded. All aboard were killed.

Chouteau was from Tulsa County, OK. Because his body was not recovered, he is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing.

Sonny with family, on leave just prior to being sent overseas.

A letter, written by Pvt. Charles P. "Sonny" Chouteau, to his mother in the event that he lost his life in combat.

Sadly, Chouteau and crew were KIA, 28-Oct-43 aboard B-24 #42-40248, when the ship was struck by a bomb falling from a plane above in formation. Their ship caught fire and exploded.

The letter reads -

"To whom it may concern: I am writing this letter for my mother, just in case I am lost over enemy territory. Please, whoever finds this, send it to her.

You’ve always asked me if I went to Chapel, well I do. Also I’ve read in the little New Testament you gave me. One verse, I believe it’s in the Chapter of St. Luke that reads like this. “Fear not the man who can kill you in body; for that is all he can do.” Therefore, I fear not our enemies and the sting of death, because I am fighting for righteousness and freedom. Not only for our moral lives, but for our spiritual lives as well. For the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the pursuit of happiness in our own way.

All in all, darling Mother, I was not afraid of death, so please don’t give up hope, because as long as there’s a prayer in your heart, kind and gentle thoughts in your mind, and our freedom of religion, there’s always the greater happiness in knowing that you gave your all in the best manner to aid the cause of Christianity, the battle to hold Jesus Christ our Lord ever high. “Oh death, where is thy sting?” Oh grave, thy victory?”

You probably won’t recognize this as your little boy’s writing; the one who didn’t want to go to Sunday school, the one who didn’t like to go to church. But Mother, dearest Mother, one does not always have to go to church to be a believer in Christ, but now I realize that the church is the building of God in which you may worship Him in your own way.

Well, Mother, darling, I guess that all things must end, yes, even the span of your life on earth, no matter how old or how young. There’s always the most glorious life in heaven when Jesus calls your name.

Your Loving Son, Sonny"