Flight Officer Philip W. Harris


10th Air Force / 7th Bombardment Group / 492nd Bombardment Squadron

Enlisted - December 1943

(Image Courtesy of Find-A-Grave.com/Chris Stout) (Info Courtesy of Find-A-Grave.com/Eric Evans)

Killed, Non-Battle - 18 Aug 44

Harris drowned in an air accident near Kurmitola, India on August 18, 1944 while returning from ferrying gasoline to Kunming, China. He was flying as a gunner aboard B-24J #42-73080. On approaching the airdrome, the pilot called the tower for landing instructions, giving no indication of possible trouble. While circling the field preparing to enter the traffic pattern, all four engines quit. Unable to reach the runway, the pilot attempted a forced landing in a water-filled rice paddy and crashed. Only one member of the 8-man crew survived.

Harris was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously with a citation, signed by General H. H. Arnold, Commanding General Army Air Forces, which read "Citation of Honor United States Army Air Forces Flight Officer Philip W. Harris: who gave his life in the performance of his duty, August 18, 1944. He lived to bear his country's arms. He died to save its honor. He was a soldier and he knew a soldier's duty. His sacrifice will help to keep aglow the flaming torch that lights our lives that millions yet unborn may know the priceless job of liberty. And we who pay him homage, and revere his memory, in solemn pride rededicate ourselves to a complete fulfillment of the task for which he so gallantly has placed his life upon this altar of man's Freedom."

Flight Officer Harris' Find-A-Grave.com Memorial

492nd BS Personnel

7th BG Personnel