After remaining missing for 70 years, Clinton native 1st Lt. Longman to return home Saturday to final resting place at Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery
DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Iowa from 5 p.m. Friday, April 11, 2014, until 8 a.m. Monday, April 14, 2014, in honor of U.S. Army Air Corps 1st Lt. Louis L. Longman, formerly of Clinton, Iowa. A photo of 1st Lt. Longman may be found here.
Longman, a 26-year old Clinton, Iowa native serving with the 433rd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, was last seen April 16, 1944 as his unit returned from a B-25 bomber escort mission over Hollandia, New Guinea. A Lockheed P-38 “Lightning” fighter pilot, Longman was on the return leg of the mission in a P-38J aircraft when his unit encountered severe weather in the Markham Valley. Longman’s last reported location was in the vicinity of Bogadjim, New Guinea, as his formation broke up. The 5th Air Force lost 53 pilots and crewmen that day in what became known as “Black Sunday.”
Longman was officially declared deceased on Feb. 27, 1946, but his remains were never recovered. In February 2005, the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command – Central Identification Laboratory (JPAC) received information of a possible aircraft crash site in Madang province, Papua New Guinea. In August 2007, human remains, as well as parts of a U.S. P-38J aircraft were recovered by a JPAC Investigation Team. Additional remains and physical evidence were also recovered in 2009 and 2010 by JPAC personnel.
In 2011, JPAC’s Research and Analysis Group concluded a historical association drawn from Missing Air Crew Report #4501 and the excavation site. The location of the excavated aircraft crash site and the wreckage reported by JPAC personnel, consistent with a Lockheed P-38J Lightning, support this historical association.
Louis Longman was born Jan. 23, 1918 in Murdock, Minn. to George F. and Ellen T. (Cleary) Longman. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Clinton, Iowa in 1936, and participated in a wide variety of school activities, including basketball, football (All-State honorable mention), yearbook sports editor, dramatics, and class officer positions.
Longman enlisted in the U.S. Army on Feb. 19, 1942, and transferred into the U.S. Army Air Corps in June. Longman completed his primary flight training at Cal-Aero Academy in Ontario, Calif., then completed Basic (Merced Army Airfield, Merced, Calif.) and Advanced (Williams Army Airfield, Mesa, Ariz.) Flight Training, receiving his pilot wings on April 12, 1943. He left the U.S. for duty in the Pacific theater in July 1943 and was assigned to the 433rd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps.
Among his military awards and honors is the Air Medal (with numeral “2”), American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (w/4 Bronze Service Stars), World War II Victory Medal and Pilot Wings.
He was preceded in death by his parents. His four brothers and four sisters are also deceased.
A memorial service and interment will be held at the Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery, 1 Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill. on April 12, 2014 at 1 p.m., with full military honors provided by the Iowa National Guard. Please use the Moline entrance. The public is welcome to attend the memorial service.
The Governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under the control of the state. H.R. 692, signed in 2007, requires federal government agencies in the state to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces.
Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.