|U.S. Army Air Force
83rd Bomb Squadron / 12th Bomb Group, Medium
B-25J 43-3964 "Mitchell" Bomber
1st Lt John R. Couch O-810114
Killed in Action - October 6th 1944, Burma
Awards - Air Medal, Purple Heart
|Letter cover or envelope, above photo.
This letter was addressed to 1st Lt John R. Couch O-810114 and sent on October 11th 1944 at 3PM from
Mrs John R. Couch, Bosworth, Missouri.
1st Lt John R Couch was a crew member on B-25J 43-3964.
On 6 October 1944, 12 B-25's from the 83rd Bomb Squadron, 12th Bomb Group, had taken off at 0800 to
bomb a bridge at Nyaungyan in the Mandalay area. At 0940, the formation lost height as it approached the
target, but spotted Japanese fighters approaching from the direction of Meiktila. These were 64th Sentai
Ki 43s which had scrambled from that airfield. Captain Saburo Nakamura, the unit’s leading pilot with 20
claims for aircraft destroyed or damaged, dived into a head-on attack, followed by a second pilot, the US
crews reporting that fire from Nakamura’s damaged the left wings of aircraft No's 57 and 65, the latter
being the formation leader. No 52 was then hit and the pilot, Lt D E Sheridan, was wounded in the arm and
face, while Lt John R Couch’s No 63 in the second element of the formation was also hit during this initial
At that point No 63 (B-25J-1-NC 43-3964) was seen to have flames coming from the starboard engine and
top turret, and it gradually lost height, apparently still under control. It then crashed into the ground, one
or two parachutes being seen. Sgt Toshimi Ikezawa, the third pilot to take part in the initial head-on
attack, saw Couch’s B-25 fall just as he passed by. MACR 9096 describes the fate of his crew.
"Air War for Burma", by Christopher Shores. ISBN 1-904010-95-4
B-25J 43-3964 was lost with her crew: 1st Lt John R. Couch O-810114, 2nd Lt Leslie W. Hodge O-822008,
2nd Lt George L. Mauldin, Jr O-703147 and Sgt Earnest E. Wilson 38399243.
The crew is listed on the tablets of the missing Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila