Last Known Activity
Albin Daniel Rynkiewicz was born on March 1, 1918 in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Peter Stanley and Mary Bykowska Rynkiewicz. Family history states he married Helen Wynda and had two children, Peter and Patricia. According to his NARA enlistment record, he was residing in Connecticut on December 7, 1943 when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. It also states he had completed 4 years of high school, was married, and was employed in a skilled occupation of manufacturing.
After basic training, he received instruction as an aerial gunner. Upon completion of this course, he was promoted to Corporal and assigned to the 867th Bomb Squadron of the 494th Bomb Group. He arrived on Anguar Island in early 1945, and flew three missions.
On May 4, 1945, he participated in a bombing raid on anti-aircraft gun positions on Koror Island, another of the Palau Group. As the formation reached the target, flak was intense and accurate. On the bomb run, the aircraft was struck by a flak shell at the wing root, between # 2 engine and the fuselage. The wing peeled up and left the aircraft, which then went into a tight spin and crashed into the sea just off the island of Koror. The intact wing landed on a small island named Iheror.
Only one crew member managed to parachute out, and was captured by the Japanese and subsequently beheaded. All the bodies from the wreckage were buried in a grave next to the fuselage. In 1945, Graves Registration located this grave and removed the remains. Individual identification evidently was not possible, so all remains were returned to the U.S. They were buried in a common grave at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York. The grave location is Section J, Site 13630.
NARA Enlistment records
Corporal Albin D. Rynkiewicz was acting as tail gunner on B-24J # 44-42058, nicknamed "The Brief," assigned to the 867th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 14351 identifies personnel on board as:
2 Lt Glen R. Custer p
2 Lt Irwin R. Brown c-p
2 Lt Wallace F. Kaufman nav
2 Lt Norbert J. Giese bomb
TSgt James R. Tenney r/o
Sgt Richard F. Grimes eng
Cpl Victor B. Wilson nose gun
Cpl Irving Topp top turret gun
Cpl Robert N. Shillenn btg
Cpl Albin D. Rynkiewicz tail gun
Sgt Floyd C. Bennett passenger
There is a short clip of the actual hit and crashing of the aircraft in several spots on You Tube.
Lt Kaufman was the airman executed by the Japanese.
Service photo source: