James Houston Raby was born in 1930, son of Oscar Raby. He was a crew member of a P2V-4 Neptune patrol bomber with Patrol Squadron 22. On January 21, 1951, after take-off his right engine failed and the aircraft ditched about one mile from Naha Air Base, Okinawa, drowning him. Two sailors were lost in this incident, James H. Raby and Bennie G. Carter.

Local Sailor Dies in Pacific Plane Crash

James Houston Raby, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Raby of Sweetwater, was killed in an airplane accident this week. The family was advised of the youthful sailor’s death in a telegram from the Defense Department Monday. He was an Aviation Machinists Mate second class and had served in the U.S. Navy for the past three and one-half years. Before entering the Navy he attended Paint Rock High School. When the Rabys last heard from their son he was in the Hawaiian Islands. The telegram did not reveal the place of the accident. It stated simply that he had been killed and that the body had not been recovered. Besides his family, the sailor is survived by two brothers, Thurston and Billy, and three sisters, Joyce, Lulu and Patsy, all of Sweetwater.

I have been researching the loss of AMM2 James H. Raby of Sweetwater, Tennessee. He was one of two lost in a VP-22 aircraft crash of Naha Air Base in Okinawa on January 21, 1951. He was reported Missing but his name does not appear officially as a loss nor is he listed at the Defense Department as Missing in any category. We have confirmed he was lost. His fellow sailor also lost in this incident is Bennie G. Carter. Carter is officially listed as Killed in the crash. We are trying to find additional information on James H. Raby.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation in D.C. is seeking funding for a Wall of Remembrance. This will list those who are officially on the current listing known as the DOD DCAS list. This list does not include James H. Raby but does include Carter. He is listed on the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency as Accounted For Unknown Status, which means they don’t have any records one way or another whether his is considered Missing. In over 30 years of researching losses, we have come up with about 500 documented losses who never made it to the official lists. Raby is one of these forgotten names.


Please contact Hal Barker if you have further information: hbarker@kwp.org


  • Rank: Aviation Machinist Mate Second Class
  • Date of death: 21 January 1951
  • County: Monroe
  • Hometown: Sweetwater
  • Service Branch: Navy
  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Sweetwater Valley Memorial Park, Sweetwater, Monroe County, TN
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XXI, Middle Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor James H. Raby

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