Technical Sergeant Howard V. McCalmont

World War II

US Army Air Forces
320th Bomb Squadron, 90th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force
Service Number: 13038453
Born: April 27, 1920
Inducted: October 1941
Killed in action July 20, 1943 over New Guinea
Buried: Yuma Cemetery, lot 203 original, Yuma

Son of Mrs. Bertha Campbell of Akron (previously Eckley).

Yuma Cemetery

Denver Post week of August 5, 1943

Sergeant Howard McClammont Reported Killed in New Guinea Area.

Sgt. Howard McClammont of Eckley, an engineer aerial technician, met death with nine other crew members of a Liberator bomber and an accompanying news-picture photographer after a gallant battle with Jap Zeros in the New Guinea area, a battle in which only one member of the bomber crew survived, press dispatches related Monday.

The surviving member of the crew was Pfc. M.D. Turrentine of San Bernardino, California, nose gunner on the bomber, who lived to tell of the fate of his companions only by a miracle.

"We were on a reconnaissance flight between Madang and Bena Bena on July 20 when the Japs attacked," Turrentine said. "in the next five minutes I had three miraculous escapes. First, our plane exploded in midair. Apparently I was knocked unconscious. Then as I parachuted down, a Jap pilot tried to machine gun me."

Australian forces who witnessed the combat found Turrentine half conscious in a dry creek bed and helped him to make the two-and-a-half-day march back to his base.

Carl Thusgaard of Jamaica, N. Y., news photographer who was along on the reconnaissance flight, and the other crew members had no opportunity to escape when the plane exploded, Turrentine said.

The Zeros dived on the Liberator after returning from protecting a. Japanese convoy. Two were shot down by one aerial gunner and a third was knocked down by the survivor, Turrentine. The plane exploded after the bomb bay caught fire.

Note: McClammont spelling is from the original paper not a typo.

Yuma Pioneer August 12, 1943

Eckley Sergeant, Killed in Action, is Awarded Medal
Howard V. McClammont Decorated Posthumously for Valor in Southwest Pacific

A letter from the war department confirming the death of her son, Technical Sergeant Howard V. McCalmont, while on a bombing mission in the Southwest Pacific on July 20, was received Monday by Mrs. Bertha Campbell of south of Akron. Press dispatches the first of last week gave the young man's name as McClammont which was erroneous. Sergeant McCalmont's home was in Meadville, Penn. and he had lived south of Eckley for about two years.

Mrs. Campbell also received a letter from Lieutenant General George C. Kenny, Commanding Officer of the Fifth Air Force, informing her that her son had been decorated with the Air Medal for courageous service. The letter was written July 27, after the young man's death, so it is presumed that he was decorated posthumously. General Kenney wrote as follows: "Recently your son, Technical Sergeant Howard V. McCalmont, was decorated with the Air Medal. It was an award made in recognition of courageous service to his combat organization, his fellow American airmen, his country, his home and to you.

"He was cited for meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight over Huuon Gulf, New Guinea.

"He was a member of the crew of a B-24 type aircraft engaged in a bombing attack on hostile shipping. Despite intense anti-aircraft fire, bombs were dropped and direct hits were scored on a large transport and on a barge moored alongside. Later reconnaissance reported that the damaged . . . . . . . . formation was attacked by enemy fighters and in the ensuing battle two of the hostile airplanes were shot down.

"Almost every hour of every day your son and the sons of other American mothers, are doing just such things as that here in the southwest Pacific. Theirs is a very real and very tangible contribution to victory and to peace.

"I would like to tell you how genuinely proud I am to have men such as your son in my command, and how gratified I am to know that young Americans with such courage and resourcefulness are fighting our country's battle against the aggressor nations.

You Mrs. Campbell, have every reason the share that pride and gratification."

Sergeant McCalmont was 23 years of age last April 27. Besides his mother, he is survived by an older brother, Paul McCalmont who is attached to an anti-aircraft company in California, and a married sister who is making her home with her mother at the present.

Yuma Pioneer March 17, 1949

Last rites were conducted for Technical Sergeant Howard V. McCalmont Sunday, March 13, from the Yuma Nazarene Church and interment was in the Yuma Cemetery.

Howard V. McCalmont, son of Mrs. Bertha O. Campbell, was born in Youngsville Pa., April 27, 1920, where he lived until November 1927. In that year he came to Colorado with his mother, stepfather, brother and sister, where they made their home south of Eckley. He attended grade school in Colorado, but in 1934 returned to Pa. to live with his grandmother and to attend high school there.

After finishing high school he entered an Aeronautical school in Pa. In October 1941, he enlisted in the Air Corps, and attended and finished Air Corps Mechanical and Aerial Engineering school in Wichita Falls, Texas. later he received his final training at Ypsilanti, Michigan. From there he was assigned to the 320th Bomb Squadron, 90th Bomb Group and sent to California for overseas duty in the South Pacific. He was killed in action near New Guinea July 20, 1943.

He was converted at the Champion Valley Church of God in Yuma when just a child and had kept that faith the remainder of his life.

Left to mourn are his mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Campbell of southwest of Otis; his brother Paul E. McCalmont of West Virginia; his sisters, Vera Johnston of Brush, Dorothy Alexander of Akron and Hazel and Cora Campbell at home; his stepsisters, Nellie W. Bramblett of Yuma, Ruth Talbot of California and Mary Hoffman of Missouri; his stepbrothers, Darrell Campbell and W. Max Campbell of Brush and his grandmother, Mrs. M.O. Campbell of Pa. and step grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Gilmore of Yuma.

Denver Post - October 24, 1943

Parade Staged at Buckley Field in Honor of Mrs. Bertha Campbell

Standing in front of the Stars and Stripes and flanked by a military guard of honor, Mrs. Bertha Campbell of Akron, Colo., received the posthumous awards of the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster for her son, Tech. Sergt. Howard V. McCalmont, at a parade at Buckley field Saturday afternoon. Brig. Gen. L.A. Lawson, commanding general of Buckley, made the presentation.

Sergeant McCalmont was killed July 20 while on a reconnaissance mission in the southwest Pacific. His plane was attacked by sixteen enemy aircraft, and the American crew was reported to have shot down three Jap Zeros and damaged others before their own bomber crashed, presumably on an island, since the bodies of the men were recovered by a land crew and given an appropriate burial by a navy mission station.

June 1999 Email from Bob Tupa

re: Sgt. Howard McCalmont
Would like information on Sgt. H. V. McCalmont of Meadville, PA. who died 20 July 1943 between Maclang and Bena Bena when B-24 exploded. M.D. Turrentine only survivor. Only know they were in the 5th AF. Thanks, Steve

According to Wiley O. Woods' book The Legacy of the 90th BG, Howard was on a 320th Squadron aircraft flown by the Group Operations Officer 1st Lt John B. Willcoxon. The were to cover the Madang area and give a continuous weather report along the route and upon the last report was to bomb the Gori River bridge. The last weather report was received at 1001 and 5 minutes later they were fighting for their lives. Lt E.P. Dunshea of the Australian Army witnessed the fight and said that they initially had nine-later sixteen-Zeros pursuing them as they zigzagged down the Ramu Vally. They shot down three of the attackers which crashed near Lihona in the Finnisterre Mountains and may have shot down another. Fifteen minutes later the Japs had started a fire in the bomb bay and at 1020 the ship blew up.

Japanese sources say that five of the attackers were Tonys from the 2nd Chutai of the 68th Sentai flying out of Wewak. Credit for shooting down the plane was given to the Chutai Commander, Capt Shogo Takeuchi. This was the first American plane to be destroyed in combat by a pilot of a Tony. Takeuchi was to die in a landing accident on Dec 21, 1943.

McCalmont was buried at the Taru Mission.

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