Survival of The Reckless Mountain Boys Crew

The IHRA presents the conclusion to the intense story of The Reckless Mountain Boys… Please follow the story through…


When we last left off, Capt. Byron L. Heichel and his seven surviving crewmembers had reached the shore near their B-17’s crash site. They noticed a crowd of natives had come to see what all the commotion was about, and the crew attempted to communicate with them in Pidgin English to get help moving three of the crewmen who had been severely injured: James E. Etheridge, Kenneth P. Vetter, and 2/Lt. Marcus L. Mangett, Jr. Heichel and his co-pilot, 1/Lt. Berry T. Rucks, Jr. were also injured in the landing (both had been thrown face-first into the instrument panel), although they were able to move on their own two feet.

They had landed near a plantation called Komalu, which was owned by a German named Rudolf Diercke. That day, he and the Japanese overseer, Tadashi Imamura, were inspecting some construction on the plantation when Diercke was told that an American…

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on November 13, 2015, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Very interesting and sad story. I forwarded on to a friend interested in WWII stories. Thank you. My husband said the Germans were way worse than the Japanese in those camps. And look what these men went thru.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not trying to be competitive, but the survival rate was far better in a German camp. I thank you for your interest and for helping to share the memories these troops are leaving behind.


  2. What a series of frying pans and fires that poor crew had to endure. It is a miracle that any survived at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great story. What angers me is how the Japanese whitewash the actual history of World War II to their citizens. Most of them have no idea that they actually initiated the war in the Pacific. Their textbooks actually blame the Americans for their attack on Pearl Harbor! They claim that they were “forced” into it by the American government.


  4. Schönes week-end lieber Freund Grüße und Umarmung Gislinde


  5. It was a sad ending for a lot of the crew as it was for many of those captured by the Japanese.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great story… The narrator had detailed his story that I am like watching a movie and imagining their predicament. Thanks for sharing this.. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It is a good follow-up, albeit sad. It’s awful to see what are probably moral people do in the name of war.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for another reblog! (My, that one went up fast.) 🙂


  9. Thank you for sharing this!
    HUGS and Happy Whee-kend to you and your loved ones! 🙂


  10. An excellent story, which deserves not to be forgotten. Thank you so much for putting it our way.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great to see this follow-up to the first part of the story. I was jumping the gun when I asked if they got home safe last time! Sounds as if their imprisonment was a tough time indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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