Last Known Activity
John Stein, Jr. was born in 1916 in Clackamas County, Oregon, the son of John and Hazel Stein. He had one brother. In early 1944, while residing in California, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps' Aviation Cadet program. After completing pilot training, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and was assigned to advanced training on the P-51 fighter.
He was sent to England in late 1944, joining the 55th Fighter Squadron. He flew several combat missions escorting bombers and on fighter sweeps. In order to insure more efficient bombing, the 8th Air Force initiated a program of using fighter pilots to seek out weather ahead of the bomber streams. An official program was begun, and in February 1945, the 3rd Scouting Force was formed. Stein was assigned to this unit, as part of the 862nd Bomb Squadron of the 493rd Bomb Group.
On April 3, 1945, he was escorting bombers to Kiel, Germany when his scouting flight was engaged and fired on by friendly P-51s. Stein's aircraft was hit and went into a flat spin at 14,000 feet. The right wing came off, and the aircraft continued its spin. Stein's wingman urged him to bail out, but when last seen, there was no fire and the canopy was intact, indicating no bail out. The aircraft crashed into Gamborg Fjord.
The wreckage was located by Danish fisher men but no recovery was made. An effort was made by Grave Registration in May, 1945 after the liberation of Denmark to pull the aircraft from the water, but this attempt failed. On May 6, 1948, another effort attempted a recovery, but also failed. Finally, in October, 1948, human remains were recovered, and buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery where Lt. Stein now lies in Plot C, Row 6, Grave 38.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Records
USAAF Accident Reports
The aircraft involved in this incident was P-51D # 44-12152, unnamed, assigned to the 3rd Scouting Force.
Missing Air Crew Report 13964 was issued.
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