Airman Second Class Earl Wilbur Radlein was a crew member of a RB-50 jet bomber with the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, U.S. Air Force. On July 29, 1953, his plane was shot down by two Russian MiG-15’s over the Sea of Japan off the coast of Russia.
An Air Force RB-50 bomber, was shot down in flames about 40 miles off the Siberian coast, the state department said. It was on a “routine training mission.”
One member of the 17-man crew, Capt. John Ernest Roche of Washington, D.C., was picked up by a U.S. naval ship after 11 hours aboard a life raft dropped by an American rescue plane. He said in Tokyo that the RB-50 was attacked and shot down by Soviet aircraft.
In Washington, the state department disclosed that the American plane was attacked by MIG-15 fighters whose shells set the RB-50 on fire.
Forbes Air Force base in Topeka, Kas., indentified the 16 lost crewmen as men attached to that base. They were listed as:
Capt. Stanley Keith O’Kelly, Topika, aircraft commander
First Lt. Edmund Joseph Czyz, Chicago, Ill., aircraft observer
First Lt. Lloyd Clayton Wiggins, Marksville, La., observer
First Lt. James Gordon Keith, Yupa City, Calif., observer
First Lt. Warren John Sanderson, Topeka, observer
First Lt. Robert Elbon Stalmaker, Pikesville, Ky., observer
Capt. John Cyrus Ward, Pasadena, Calif., observer
Maj. Francisco Joseph Tejeda, Los Angeles, observer
First Lt. Frank Ernest Beyer, son of Pearl Lethia Beyer, Seadrift, Tex., observer
Mast Sgt. Francis Luther Brown, Modesto, Calif., engineer
Staff Sgt. Donald Wayne Gabree, San Leandro, Calif., gunner
Airman 1/C Roland Edgar Goulet, Mt. Holly, N.J., gunner
Airman 2/C James Edwin Woods, Guckhanon, W.Va., gunner
Airman 2/C Charles Joseph Russell, Philadelphia, gunner
Staff Sgt. Donald G. HIll, Kellogg, Ida.
Airman 2/C Earl E.W. Radlein Jr., Chattanooga, Tenn.
The Chatttanooga Times, June 18, 1951
Pfc. Earl Radlein Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Radlein, 2403 East Fifth Street, has been assigned to duty at Syracuse University in New York. He took basic training at Brooks, Air Base, San Antonio, Tex. Mrs. Al Radlein and Mrs. A. W. Smith, both of Chattanooga are his grandmothers.
- Rank: Airman Second Class
- Date of birth: 10 August 1930
- Date of death: 29 July 1953
- County: Hamilton
- Hometown: Chattanooga
- Service Branch: Air Force
- Conflict: Korean War
- Awards: Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Korean War Service Medal
- Location In Memorial: Pillar XX, Panel
- Contact us to sponsor Earl W. Radlein Jr.
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