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The Booo! Blog: Paranormal New England

USS Escolar (SS-294): Has She Been Located?


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"And I Think It's Gonna Be a Long, Long Time..."

...but who knew it would be this long? I advise on the homepage of my website to "check the dates", and question how committed others are to their sites if they don't regularly update them. Much to my embarrassment, I'm now just as guilty. Projects and life have kept me away from the keyboard, but I never really left the paranormal. I'm back and, yes, it has been a long time. Too long.

USS Escolar (SS-294): Everything You've Read Is Wrong

No edition of The Booo! Blog has generated, and continues to generate, the volume of mail and inquiries as the January 2012 edition. While the others are widely read, my story of USS Escolar, a submarine lost in 1944, seems to have connected on a different level. The mystery surrounding her disappearance, the tragic loss of all hands, and a spectral encore apparently made for a potent mix, but not one by design. The blog tells of what was known about USS Escolar and her crew at the time of her disappearance, and what happened decades later as a result. As I've stated elsewhere on these pages, and with apologies to Mark Twain: Sometimes truth is spookier than fiction.

The unknown fate of USS Escolar has always followed me, as my uncle, Joseph James Bender, Jr., Ph1M, United States Navy, was a member of her crew. Whenever life gets hectic and Escolar, by necessity, drifts to the back of my mind, something always jolts it back, front and center. It happened tonight: I was watching an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen (a rare episode where he actually did very little screaming...the guy's my hero) and what did one of the chefs prepare? Escolar. I knew that Escolar is a fish, but have you ever heard of anyone having it for dinner? Ever seen it on a menu? My intention was to write this blog several days ago, but I was pulled in another, unrelated direction. Just as the countless times in the past, synchronicity stepped in, hit me over the head, and the crew of USS Escolar found a way to politely say, "Excuse us, we don't mean to be a bother, but if you wouldn't mind pulling your ass away from the television, we're still waiting to be found". Transcending the passage of time that we, on this side, perceive as seventy years, these interdimensional ship to shore reminders have recently been on the upswing. Why? Because, thanks to an odd twist of fate sparking an international effort involving a team of dedicated individuals, we now believe we know, not only what happened to USS Escolar, but where she likely rests. With the recent surfacing of new documents, primarily from sources in Japan, it has become apparent that the official U.S. Navy account of what was believed to have happened to USS Escolar in October 1944 was, in fact, not the reality. She did not hit a mine, disintegrating in relative swiftness. To the contrary, Commander W.J. Millican and the crewmen of USS Escolar engaged in an extended and harrowing game of cat and mouse in a desperate attempt to save their lives.

What follows, published for the first time, is a copy of the USS Escolar (SS-294) Factual Summary. It is important to understand that this is a 'living' document, and contains information believed to be currently accurate. Therefore, as new information is uncovered, it is possible that this document may be subject to emendation. 
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

USS Escolar (SS-294)
Factual Summary
Compiled/Written: Anthony Duda
Telephone: 857-247-7503
Date: July 2, 2014
 
 
FACT 
 
The last known radio transmission received from USS Escolar (SS-294) was on Tuesday, October 17, 1944. Escolar reported that she was 33°-44'N, 127°-33'E, and was heading for 33°-44'N, 129°-06'E. These coordinates place the submarine in the Tsushima Strait. The 'wolf pack', known as "Millican's Marauders" and consisting of USS Escolar (SS-294), USS Croaker (SS-246) and USS Perch (SS-313) entered the strait on Sunday, October 15, 1944. On Tuesday, October 17 at 23:00, Escolar Commander W.J. Millican ordered Croaker and Perch south of Sasebo, Japan. They departed, separating from Escolar.
 
DISCREPANCY
 
The data is undisputed.
 
SOURCE
 
Entry in the USS Perch (SS-313) log, dated Tuesday, October 17, 1944. 
 
FACT 

On Thursday, October 19, 1944, Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer CD-38 detected an unknown submarine and engaged in an anti-submarine attack while escorting IJN convoy MI-23 in the Tsushima Strait, dropping over 30 depth charges. Bubbles and an oil slick immediately appeared and gear believed to be from the submarine surfaced at the site. The coordinates of the attack: 33°-32'N, 128°-43'E. USS Escolar (SS-294) would have very likely been at those general coordinates at that time. If she did, indeed, execute her route according to her last radio transmission, the documented attack coordinates would have been along her route.
 
DISCREPANCY 
 
It must be noted that the Japan Geodetic System used the Bessel Ellipsoid, not WGS84 Ellipsoid. Therefore, the coordinates documented in 1944 may shift as much as 60m to the north with conversion to WGS 84 Ellipsoid.

CORROBORATION
 
Victor Lavon Lee, Jr. (deceased), crew member of USS Croaker (SS-246) while on patrol with USS Escolar (SS-294) and USS Perch (SS-313). He contacted Anthony Duda on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 in response to his Wednesday, January 4, 2012 blog about USS Escolar (SS-294). He stated that he witnessed sound of explosions in distance and the direction of USS Escolar (SS-294) at approximately 15:00 on Thursday, October 19, 1944.
 
SOURCE 
 
*Combat Action Report of CD-38, dated Thursday, October 19, 1944. Japan Center for Asian Historical Records National Archives of Japan.
 
*Wartime diary of IJN PB-102. Japan Center for Asian Historical Records National Archives of Japan.
 
*Imperial Japanese Navy personnel memorandum. Library of Peace Memorial Display Museum.
 
*USS Perch (SS-313) log, dated Tuesday, October 17, 1944
 
**Richard F. Graham, MosaicGeo USA, LLC, Seattle, Washington
 
FACT
 
No other United States Navy submarine or submarine from another nation was reported as attacked or sunk on Thursday, October 19, 1944 in the area where USS Escolar (SS-294) would have likely been at the time of the IJN CD-38 attack*.
 
DISCREPANCY
 
The data is undisputed.
 
SOURCE 

*IJN 1 Escort Flotilla wartime diary (CD-38 and PB-102 were part of IJN 1 Escort Flotilla), October 1944.
 
*Exhaustive Internet investigation and research.

 FACT
 
There is an official Japan Coast Guard 'snag report' map that notates a wreck in the approximate documented location where IJN destroyer CD-38 located and attacked the unknown submarine on Thursday, October 19, 1944.
 
DISCREPANCY
 
The data is undisputed.
 
SOURCE
 
Japan Coast Guard.

FACT
 
According to bathymetric charts, the documented coordinates (regardless of the possible Bessel Ellipsoid/WGS84 Ellipsoid discrepancy) in the Tsushima Strait place the wreck at a relatively shallow depth of 140m (460 ft).
 
DISCREPANCY
 
The data is undisputed.
 
SOURCE
 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 

Note
 
According to Yutaka Iwasaki, a researcher in Japan, the documented coordinates where IJN CD-38 attacked the unknown submarine (33°-32'N, 128°-43'E) would place the location of the wreck in or very near an area of the Tsushima Strait known as "Area Golf", a fire training area for United States military forces in Japan. The Japan Coast Guard warns not to enter the area without full knowledge of the possible risk.

Summary
 
While there is some question as to the exact location of USS Escolar (SS-294), this slight discrepancy is likely due to the Bessel Ellipsoid utilized by the Japanese at the time relative to the WGS84 Ellipsoid used today. In any event, the Japan Coast Guard does know where the wreck is located, as they have noted it on their 'snag report' map of the area. In addition, we have fairly precise coordinates, corroborated by multiple source material. The facts demonstrate that there is every reason to believe the "unknown submarine" attacked in the Tsushima Strait on Thursday, October 19, 1944 was, indeed, USS Escolar, with no existing evidence to suggest otherwise.
 
The 82 brave men aboard USS Escolar want to be found. They want finality and closure for their family members and loved ones and, only then, will they finally rest. But perhaps, most of all, they want their story to be told. They want us to know the truth.
 
We owe them that. 

Research and Assistance
 
USA:
Bruce Abele
Darrell Ames
Anthony Duda
Charles R. Hinman
David Johnston
Keith Kibbe
Richie Kohler
Ronald Norford
Vickie Rodgers
 
Japan:
Kiyotaka Asano
Yutaka Iwasaki
Brad Pearson

Israel:
Michael Mohl
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

USS Escolar (SS-294): The New England Connection Runs Deep

Nine crewmen aboard USS Escolar (SS-294) hailed from New England*
(Click on image to enlarge)


Thomas Babb, Lieutenant
Thomas Babb, Lieutenant
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Joe Monroe Cummings, Motor Machinist's Mate, First Class
Joe Monroe Cummings, Motor Machinist's Mate, First Class
Waterbury, Connecticut
John Clinton Farwell, Chief Yeoman
John Clinton Farwell, Chief Yeoman
Boston, Massachusetts
Losson Verner Jeffrey,                Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Losson Verner Jeffrey, Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Norwich, Connecticut (Photograph not available)
Howard Carlton Latham, Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Howard Carlton Latham, Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Esmond, Rhode Island
William Clarence Lyons, Jr., Motor Machinist's Mate, Second Class
William Clarence Lyons, Jr., Motor Machinist's Mate, Second Class
Brookline, Massachusetts
Joseph Masloski, Fireman, First Class
Joseph Masloski, Fireman, First Class
North Hatfield, Massachusetts
Richard Clarence Turner, Electrician's Mate, Second Class
Richard Clarence Turner, Electrician's Mate, Second Class
New Bedford, Massachusetts (Photograph not available)
Richard William Wybrow, Ship's Cook, Third Class
Richard William Wybrow, Ship's Cook, Third Class
Keene, New Hampshire (Photograph not available)
*Photographs and information courtesy of Charles R. Hinman/On Eternal Patrol: Dedicated to all men lost while serving in the U.S. Submarine Force. For more information, please visit the website: http://www.oneternalpatrol.com

We Need Your Help!

Regardless of what part of the United States they were from, eighty-two men tragically lost their lives aboard USS Escolar. There is a need to get 'eyes in the water' utilizing side-scan sonar and other equipment at the documented coordinates of the attack on October 19, 1944, the location of the wreck documented on the Japan Coast Guard snag map, as well as the immediate, surrounding area, as some drift may have occurred due to the passage of time and effect of currents. Therefore, we respectfully urge the U.S. Government, Japanese Government, and private individuals and concerns with the capability to assist to do so. Sadly, while the story of USS Escolar is dramatic, it is certainly not unique. We now believe we know what happened to USS Escolar and, yes, we now believe we know where she is, resting at a relatively shallow depth of 140m (460 ft). This would not be a salvage mission, but one of identification, documentation, and closure. It matters not if seven days or seventy years have passed, they are waiting and want to be found. And yes, we do owe them that.

USS Escolar,SS-294,Ghosts,Haunted,Paranormal,Battleship Cove,Fall River,Massachusetts,Boston,Lost Ships WWII,Lost Submarines WWII,John Bender,New England Paranormal Investigators,www.AnthonyDuda.com






I would like to thank Dr. Robert Ballard of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for his attention and consideration in the search for USS Escolar (SS-294).

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.


23 Comments to USS Escolar (SS-294): Has She Been Located?:

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Jeremy Hill on Saturday, July 26, 2014 3:40 PM
Mr.Duda: That's great news! I remember being intrigued by your first story about the Escolar and it stuck with me all this time. I'm glad I checked back. Good luck!
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Kerren Taylor on Saturday, February 18, 2017 2:08 PM
Like so many of these posts indicate, I am among you that had an Uncle that was on the USS Escolar. His name is Stanley DeWitt Miller. He enlisted in the navy in 1937 and was stationed on the USS Oklahoma prior to volunteering for Submarine duty. While waiting to be assigned to a boat he was on shore duty in New York where he met a girl. Now, we have very little information of their courtship but we do know that, Madeline, his friend, had a baby girl. Judy was her name. There is strong evidence that this was Stan's daughter. After the USS Escolar was lost our family lost contact with Madeline. Like most of you, I spent my whole life hearing the stories of Uncle Stan and he has always been my hero. My mother revered him. I, along with my husband, set out on a mission to try and find out what became of Madeline and her daughter, but unfortunately we have discovered that both are deceased. Even though Madeline knew of Uncle Stan's family (they communicated through letters) she couldn't have known how much they wanted her and Judy in their lives. I don't believe that Judy ever knew about Uncle Stan. Madeline married an abusive guy almost immediately after Uncle Stan died, and it appears that they held back any information about him. Sad!


Gail S. on Monday, July 28, 2014 1:48 PM
Such a sad story about the Escolar, those men were so young. I hope they're found soon.
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John Mancuso on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 10:12 AM
Anthony, it's exciting that the men of USS Escolar may soon be found. I read the summary and the depth is not that great. My guess is it's a good bet the sub could be found with relative ease, it just takes the will. Your site is amazing, I've learned so much over the years. Thanks, John Mancuso.
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Marc on Tuesday, September 02, 2014 10:21 PM
Mr. Duda, you're the man with this site! You don't just hit home runs, you hit them out of the park. I've never seen a ghost or UFO and don't know if I believe, but I DO believe you. I've been reading for an hour and lost track of time. You're an interesting guy. Thanks!
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Russell Ackley on Saturday, September 27, 2014 3:18 AM
Have US authorities been notified of these findings? The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii (JPAC) may be interested in what you have discovered. http://www.jpac.pacom.mil/Contact/ContactUs.aspx My mother is the sole remaining sibling of one of the crew of Escolar and she would be thrilled beyond belief to know for certain that his final resting place has finally been located. Thank you for all you have done.
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Ryan Tucker on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 12:24 PM
My uncle (great) S 1/C John B. Tucker from Mentone, IN was aboard the USS Escolar on its final mission. I speak for the entire family when I say we are all shocked by this news ... that this mystery that has nagged our family and his parents and siblings to their dying days, could at last potentially be solved and put to rest - it's unbelievable! We have kept all the letters. pictures, medals, and purple heart from his service and bring it all out every once in a while, but it is very frustrating and hard to do. I don't think we can thank you enough, Mr. Duda, for what you have done and continue to do. I, too, would like to offer a plea to anyone with the means to do so, to please take into strong consideration the undertaking of putting the mystery to rest. These men deserve to be recognized for their service and sacrifice - the families as well. They are not forgotten and in discovering their final resting place, never will be. Thank you! Ryan Tucker - Warsaw, IN.
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J.P. Boudreau on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 7:05 PM
My Uncle was Lt. Tommy Babb of Gloucester, Massachusetts. He was lost aboard Escolar in 44' His Widow is 96 and still going strong. On behalf of my family I thank you for this tribute to these brave young men.
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Claude J. Hill Jr on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 4:44 PM
My Father Lt. Claude J. Hill was Engineering and Weapons Officer aboard Escolar on on her maiden and final Patrol. He and Escolar sailed from Philadelphia where she was built on July 1st 1944 and I was born there on July 15th 1944 so he never saw me. That was his 7th War Patrol after the others on USS Tuna. He graduated in Engineering from the University of Florida Class of 1941, attended Annapolis for 4 months and then Submarine School in New London CT just before Pearl harbor. My Mother Mildred Carlisle Herndon Hill passed in 1994. In 1995 I attended the Dedication of the new Submarine Memorial at New London on the 50th Anniversary of the the Surrender aboard the Missouri BB-63. Her Brother Walter Ashby Herndon was aboard Intrepid as a Seaman off Okinawa in 1945 along with my Mother's younger Sister Geraldine's Husband O.B Adams who was a Submariner turned Carrier Pilot later in the War. OB survived and retired after 30+ years Service and a full Captain. Walter survived and later ran Dade County FL Highways. At the Memorial I met the Skipper of the Perch and its Wardrobe Steward. The Skipper would not discuss the events of the day but left me believing that Escolar had perished while Millican took action and and gave orders to save the other two boats from attack. The Wardrobe Steward said that there were also Land Based Japanese aircraft involved in the attack on Escolar. When I served in US Army Intelligence and Security from 1964-1968 (I was too tall for Subs at 6'5") I was stationed on Okinawa and flew over the Tsushima Straights and Nagasaki on TDY to Fukuoka. Looking out at those waters was a very strange feeling. I later had a photo made of me in uniform taken in from of the Japanese Imperial Palace in Tokyo and sent to my Mother just to show that I had made it where my Father had not. Let me know if there is anything further I can do in this regard. I am now 70 and retired in rural Tennessee south of Nashville.
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Claude J. Hill Jr on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 5:07 PM
My Father Lt. Claude J. Hill was Engineering and Weapons Officer aboard Escolar on her maiden and final Patrol. He and Escolar sailed from Philadelphia where she was built on July 1st 1944 and I was born there on July 15th 1944 so he never saw me. That was his 7th War Patrol after the others on USS Tuna. He graduated in Engineering from the University of Florida Class of 1941, attended Annapolis for 4 months and then Submarine School in New London CT just before Pearl Harbor. My Mother Mildred Carlisle Herndon Hill passed in 1994. In 1995 I attended the Dedication of the new Submarine Memorial at New London on the 50th Anniversary of the the Surrender aboard the Missouri BB-63. Her Brother Walter Ashby Herndon was aboard Intrepid as a Seaman off Okinawa in 1945 along with my Mother's younger Sister Geraldine's Husband O.B Adams who was a Submariner turned Carrier Pilot later in the War. OB survived and retired after 30+ years of Service and a full Captain. Walter survived and later ran Dade County FL Highways. At the Memorial I met the Skipper of the Perch and its Wardrobe Steward. The Skipper would not discuss the events of the day but left me believing that Escolar had perished while Millican took action and gave orders to save the other two boats from attack. The Wardrobe Steward said that there were also Land Based Japanese aircraft involved in the attack on Escolar. When I served in US Army Intelligence and Security from 1964-1968 (I was too tall for Subs at 6'5") I was stationed on Okinawa and flew over the Tsushima Straights and Nagasaki on TDY to Fukuoka. Looking out at those waters was a very strange feeling. I later had a photo made of me in uniform taken in from of the Japanese Imperial Palace in Tokyo and sent to my Mother just to show that I had made it where my Father had not. Let me know if there is anything further I can do in this regard. I am now 70 and retired in rural Tennessee south of Nashville.
Reply to comment


bob holly on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 9:19 PM
My uncle Richard Calabrese from Erie pa was on this Submarine. My poor grandmother always thought he would show up some day at her front door since they were never found. I would be very interested to know if anyone pursues finding the wreckage. As the great songwriter Sting once referred to these young soldiers as 'Virgins with Rifles" So sad my Uncle Dick never got a chance to live his life, enlisting at 17.
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Henry Lapa on Sunday, June 07, 2015 10:46 AM
F1c Masloski is my uncle. Note "-ski" not "-sky." What a SUPER job on the research. I didn't know so many of the crew were all from New England, especially as Escolar was built in Philly. Maybe the E guys trained together and were detailed as a group.
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Deb Shilaos on Wednesday, October 07, 2015 1:11 AM
My mother-in law was engaged to one of the crew members on board the USS Escolar, Nick Wells. Years later, she married his cousin. My father in law was to be Nick's best man. My mother in law will be 95 on October 20. She still talks of Nick. I have been thinking a lot over the years about the Escolar. I hope we can find it.
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Jennifer Orr on Monday, December 28, 2015 1:21 PM
Hello. Thank you for the wonderful information on the Escolar. My grandfather John William Clary was a crew member on the Escolar when it went down and was a crew member on the Wahoo. I am proud of his service as well as the other brave men who died on both of these subs.I only know what my grandmother (she is 97) has told me about him and I have a copy of one of the diaries he kept while on the Wahoo (which can be found on Warfish.com), unfortunately it is not published in it's entirety. I have always wondered how it was for him and the other crew members that day and pray that it was quick for them. My grandfather has no grave or marker, but he is not forgotten.
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Anna Mae Lyons on Sunday, February 21, 2016 8:17 PM
Dear Anthony, Andy Zumar came from a large loving family, most of who knew him are now gone, but those of us left are hungry for information about what happened to him and the other souls aboard the SSEscolar. Never did we dream that there was a possibility that the ship could be located and investigated. Since the Japanese seem to have the information and since the ship is located near an American base, perhaps both countries, in the spirit of cooperation, send some divers down to physically see what is there. The price we paid by the loss of our loved ones was enough any thing we can learn about their final hours would be a true blessing.
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Theresa Gast on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 1:58 PM
My Uncle whom I never got to meet...Joeseph Slavik was lost on the USS Escolar. He was on another sub but went AWOL to get married & the Escolar was the next sub out. My family was told they used to go under the nets and they disappeared on that voyage. I still have the telegram that was sent to my Grandmother.
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michael navine on Saturday, April 30, 2016 11:32 PM
my father,arnold h navine jr was on the perch ss313 on the night the escolar was lost.i remember him saying that he and some other crewmembers were playing cards when they heard the explosions.i remember he said there were three booms.when they tried to raise the escloar the next morning, no avail
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Suzanne Prechtl on Thursday, December 08, 2016 11:39 PM
My Uncle Harold Komes was on the USS Escolar. All of my life I have heard stories of him. He was the only son of my Grandparents. My Mother was his youngest sibling. I would be very interested in knowing anything in the future regarding locating the submarine. Interestingly, my youngest brother Thomas Harold Hilgen is named after Uncle Harold. Thomas was born on October 19, 1964; the same reported date of the sinking of the USS Escolar by Japanese record.
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John Riotto on Thursday, February 09, 2017 10:51 PM
My uncle was Robert Eugene Bones, Fireman first class, aboard the USS Escolar. He married my Aunt Mary nee Riotto in Pottsville Pa. I have never met any of Uncle Bob's relatives. As I was only 3 years old when the Escolar went down, I have no recollection of him. Uncle Bob had 1 child, Marianne. My Aunt remarried after waiting the required period of time. If anyone has information of the Bones family pls get in touch with me.
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Kay Crist on Sunday, May 28, 2017 10:30 PM
Sunday, May 28, 2017 10:20 PM. In reply to John Riotto,I,too, am related to Robert Bones. He is my uncle on my mother's side of the family. I knew your Aunt Mary well as she stayed in touch with the Bones' even after she remarried. I have some photos of her. I was almost 3 years old when Uncle Bob was lost. Uncle Bob has a brother and sister still living.


Maria Bones on Monday, June 12, 2017 11:02 PM
John Riotto, feel free to contact us, Dad (Jos H. Bones) would be thrilled to hear from you. Thank you all, I got the chills reading this.


Maria Bones on Monday, June 12, 2017 10:57 PM
My father, Joseph H. Bones, youngest brother of Robert E. Bones is still living in Delano, PA. Helen (Bones) Jones, sister of Robert E. Bones is also still living in near Salem, Oregon. We have many photos of Uncle Bobby. Please feel free to contact me for further information, or to meet with the family. We are anxiously awaiting more information. Thank you all for posting!
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Charles R. Hinman on Thursday, June 15, 2017 9:30 PM
We are still missing photos for the following eleven Escolar men: Eugene Everett Brown Joseph Michael Cahill William Thomas Caldwell, Jr. Jack Eugene Fostair Lynn Burton Fox Edward Stanley Horodynski Losson Verner Jeffrey John Joseph Morris Arthur Reed Smith Thomas Eugene Tucker William Velten If you are a relative, or just happen to have a photo of any of these men, please contact me at info@OnEternalPatrol.com Thank you. Charles R Hinman
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