Last Known Activity
Charles A. Bode was born in Highlandtown, Maryland on September 20, 1920. He was the son of Adam J. and Margaret E. Collins Bode. He attended and graduated from Patterson Park High School, then attended Baltimore Polytechnical Institute. He was employed by Bethlehem Steel Company until he entered the Army Air Corps on May 13, 1942. He was employed as a clerk.
He was trained as a flight or aerial engineer on the B-24 type aircraft, and also received training as an aerial gunner in his later combat training. He was sent to the Southwest Pacific in 1943. Here, he was assigned to the 43rd Bomb Group. Later, he was assigned to a crew within the 64th Bomb Squadron. Reportedly, he flew 25 combat missions.
On November 20, 1943 (many accounts say 1944) the crew was assigned a night mission to search for and observe Japanese shipping. Taking off from Jackson Field, Port Moresby, New Guinea, they were to not only observe shipping but were to search out any radar installations along the north coast. Only one radio transmission was received from the aircraft, locating it approximately 20 miles Northwest of Port Moresby. The aircraft never returned to base, and all the crew was declared Missing In Action.
In 1984, the government of Papua New Guinea informed the U.S. that aircraft wreckage had been found in a ravine in Morboe Province. A team attempted to reach the site but had to return because of time limits and the danger of landslides. Several teams afterward attempted to reach the wreckage, but the dangers prevented this.
In 2004, a team reached the site and recovered human remains and equipment from the wreckage. In addition, native tribesmen handed over bones they had removed previously. These remains were eventually identified by the use of DNA testing and equipment found in the wreckage.
All 11 crew members were returned to the U.S. TSgt Charles Bode was individually buried at Arlington National Cemetery on February 11, 2011, 67 years after being lost in the jungle. The other 10 crew members are to be buried on March 24 in a group burial at Arlington. Interestingly enough, although he was reported buried individually, his name is prominent on the group gravestone. In addition, American Batt Monuments Commission still records him as memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing in the Manila (P.I.) American Cemetery.
NOTE: In the crew picture, TSgt Charles Bode is kneeling, 2nd from right.
The missing aircraft was B-24D # 42-40886, unnamed, from the 64th Bomb Squadron.
According to various reports, the crew consisted of:
1 Lt Richard T. Huess
2 Lt Robert A. Miller
2 Lt Edward A. French
2 Lt Robert R. Streckenbach
TSgt Charles A. Bode
SSgt Lucian I. Oliver
SSgt Ivan O. Kirkpatrick
SSgt William K. Musgrave
SSgt James T. Moran
SSgt James B. Moore
SSgt Ray Surabian
Missing Air Crew Report 1771 applies.
There is much variation in accounts of this loss. USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory report states MACR 1773, but 1771 gives date as 1943 and states Lt. Huess was pilot.
Which is another variation as several articles in the Baltimore Sun newspaper not only lists TSgt Bode as flying the aircraft, but also give the date as November 20, 1943 (as do many others.) It is impossible at this time to verify the actual date of the crash.
NOTE: Information in www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/b-24/42-40886 (Nov 19, 2016 discovery date) states 1943 is accurate date, and the MACR is incorrect. Believe error was made in one-year waiting period from declared MIA to declared Dead. At this time, still attempting to gather more infor on airmen involved. (DCS)
Service photo source: